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MGCCC retooling for energy-related programs

PERKINSTON — Due to the growing need for a trained workforce in the energy industry, Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College is using funding from a U.S. Department of Energy Workforce Development grant to design curriculum and purchase equipment for energy-related programs.

Working closely with renewable-energy industry partners, Gulf Coast is planning new classes and revising existing programs for manufacturing technicians, electric power line workers, and maintenance and repair workers.

Equipment has been purchased to enhance existing energy-related programs. More than $225,000 has been spent at the Jackson County Campus for the Process Operations Technology, Instrumentation/Electronics Technology and Electronics Technology programs and the George County Center for the Apprentice Electric Lineman program.

Teams of Gulf Coast instructors, energy industry partners and curriculum specialists are preparing new and enhanced program curricula.

John Poelma, Technical Department chair and instructor in both the Electronics Technology and Instrumentation/Electronics Technology programs at the Jackson County Campus, said his programs have already received equipment that allows students to work on circuit boards that are computer-enhanced.

John Shows, Gulf Coast dean for Career-Technical Education and Industrial Training, said the decision about what programs to develop and equip was made based on an energy-industry Labor Market Survey.

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