Students, teachers to learn technical skills

TUPELO – Itawamba Community College and East Mississippi Community College will offer a program to teach technical skills to high school students and teachers thanks to grant from the National Science Foundation.
The two schools are also partnering with Mississippi State University’s Center for Science, Mathematics and Technology to administer the three-year grant that totals nearly $900,000.
“Our job is to continue to attract people to high-level jobs in manufacturing and to train them in math and science,” said ICC President David Cole.
For the current year, Itawamba Community College will partner with students in both the Pontotoc county and city school districts, and East Mississippi Community College will work with Columbus City Schools.
Each community college will work with about 16 juniors.
Starting in January, those students will attend after-school training sessions on high-tech manufacturing jobs.
During the summer, they will be enrolled in a for-credit class at the community college and also will shadow at industries in the area. During the fall, they’ll complete the after-school training.
“Manufacturing has played such an important role in Pontotoc County and the people who are employed there,” said Lynnice Carter, assistant superintendent for Pontotoc County Schools. “We want to have our students ready for the educational opportunities as they arise.”
Math and science teachers and career counselors in Pontotoc and Columbus also will attend a summer workshop that will teach them about the skills that are in demand with industries.
They will also be able to shadow at industries to see how math and science are being used in the workplace, and they will implement a curriculum from what they’ve learned.
“It takes teachers into the real world of industry to answer students’ never-ending question, ‘Why do I need to learn science and math anyway?’” said Amy Tuck, special assistant to the president at Mississippi State University.
Both community colleges will work with students from other school districts in their territory next year. EMCC will work with Starkville and Oktibbeha County schools next year and West Point and Noxubee County schools the following year.
ICC is still determining its future schools.
“This is a pilot for us to get in schools and see what works and what we can do,” said James Williams, vice president of economic and community services at ICC.
The students in Pontotoc will do their after-school training at the Pontotoc Ridge Vocational Training Center. The ICC program will work with General Atomics and Hawkeye Industries and is working to develop deals with other industries.
Contact Chris Kieffer at (662) 678-1590 or at chris.kieffer@djournal.com.

Chris Kieffer/NEMS Daily Journal