HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - This is a news release from Jones County Junior College
Representatives from the state's 15 Community/Junior Colleges gathered for a special luncheon honoring legislators in Jackson. The event, hosted by the Mississippi Association of Community and Junior Colleges was an opportunity to thank legislators for supporting the two-year college system. The informal luncheon was also used as a special venue for faculty and students to show off some of their culinary arts, hospitality and music programs. Governor Phil Bryant surprised the crowd and took a moment to share his success story as a community college graduate.
"If I can be the Governor of Mississippi starting out a community college, students I want you to know you can reach and attain your goals too….Community colleges are very important to the workforce development of this state.
Employers can't find skilled workers without community colleges," said Governor Bryant. "There is nowhere else we're going to get skilled, trained workforce in the future except through community colleges and we've got to help you help us do that," he said.
The Governor discussed two pieces of legislation being proposed to help in that effort. One plan, the Mississippi Works Scholarship with a price tag of $3 million, will help to pay for "blue-collar kids who are working hard and need a break" to continue their career-technical programs they started in high school. The other proposal is a $50 million program with $25 million for the next two years to go toward workforce training.
"I am thankful for this opportunity to meet our legislators," said Chandler Brinson of Prentiss. "I was both astounded and comforted to learn that Governor Bryant and numerous other state officials are community/junior college graduates. I am so grateful for their support of the community/junior college system and feel we are very fortunate to have them as leaders."
Each community/junior college's faculty, students and administrators had the chance to meet with some of the state's highest officials like Lt. Governor, Tate Reeves and district legislators. Mississippi's community colleges enroll more than 75,000 students, including 54 percent of all undergraduates and nearly half of all students taking a college credit course. The nation's oldest community college system serves nearly 250,000 Mississippians each year in university transfer, career/technical, workforce and adult education programs.