Co-Lin gets $2 million boost

Published 12:05 am Friday, October 3, 2014

NATCHEZ — Copiah-Lincoln Community College’s Natchez and Wesson campuses will have an additional $2 million to prepare students with the skills needed to succeed in the transportation sector.

Co-Lin will receive the funding over the next three years through the Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training grant.

Co-Lin president Ronnie Nettles said a majority of the funding will likely be budgeted for the Natchez campus.

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Co-Lin is one of the many schools in the South that will receive funding through the grant.

The training grant will allow colleges to key in on developing centers of excellence that groom workers with the skills needed in the transportation sector.

Jackie Martin, Co-Lin dean of career, technical and workforce education for the Natchez campus, said the TAACCCT grants allow community colleges to develop new training equipment for high skills and high wage jobs.

“This is the second grant award we have received at Co-Lin in four years of the program,” Martin said.

Monica Morrison, assistant dean of career, technical and workforce education for the Natchez campus, said the centers will focus efforts on training in medium/heavy equipment/diesel mechanics and related transportation careers.

The plan is for instruction to be offered at the Natchez and Wesson campuses, with emphasis on a technology-enhanced program that supports anticipated job growth related to operations at the Natchez Port.

Morrison said Co-Lin is optimistic about the new funding.

“This will help grow our current career and technical enrollment, as well as build highly skilled and qualified individuals for the growing job demands of business and industry in our local and surrounding areas,” Morrison said.

“As the new assistant dean of career, technical and workforce education for the Natchez campus, I look forward to increased collaborations with business and industries in our area. Building and strengthening those relationships will help develop a strong foundation for professional growth opportunities and future job placement of our students.”

Martin said being a recipient of the grant allows Co-Lin additional opportunities to assist the local economy in being completive by equipping the workforce with the skill sets that are needed to sustain and attract local business and industry.

“This is a huge opportunity for not only our college but for the local transportation industry and economy,” Martin said.

With this grant, according to Morrison, students will receive training in top industry fields.

Governor Phil Bryant said in a press release that workforce development at the community college level is a vital part of growing Mississippi’s skilled workforce.