Mississippi Corridor Consortium

The Mississippi Corridor Consortium, which includes East Mississippi Community College, Itawamba Community College, Northeast Mississippi Community College and Northwest Mississippi Community College, has received a $2.7 million Career Accelerated Pathways grant from the Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training Grant program.

The Consortium was the only organization awarded funding in Mississippi although seven projects competed for the DOL funding.

The purpose is to help eligible institutions expand and improve their ability to deliver education and career training programs that can be completed in two years or less and expand and improve the ability to provide education and training programs that are suitable for workers eligible for training under the TAA for Workers program, according to Dr. Rick Young, president of East Mississippi Community College.

Dr. David Cole, president of Itawamba Community College, said that foreign competition has placed tremendous pressure on the existing industries in north Mississippi. "Since 2007 only 54 percent of the trade certifications in the area are from furniture manufacturing industries. In fact, 61 of the 87 (70 percent) trade affected companies in Mississippi and 5,754 of the 7,576 trade affected Mississippi workers are in the Mississippi Corridor Consortium area."

The Consortium's training program will develop the Career Accelerated Pathway in manufacturing that will focus on growth industries including automotive and aerospace to improve employment opportunities for TAA participants. The CAP project will accelerate learning, improve retention and achievement rates and promote industry-recognized credentials, certificate and degree attainment. Strategies for success include ED-BEST basic skills education, stackable credentials and credits, block schedule design, standardized admission, credit by exam, online teaching for improved access to learning and articulation agreements. The multi-level Pathway includes the Mississippi Career Readiness Certificate, Manufacturing Skills Basic Certification and a multi-skills Workforce Certificate which is available in industrial maintenance, advanced machining and facilities maintenance.

The program's Ed-Best component mitigates the need for remediation through a targeted, individualized e-tutoring solution at each level of the CAP, Cole said. "Enhanced student services' Navigation assistance will assist with counseling, retention and persistence, career options and job linkages through WIA/WIN Job Centers. The CAP leads to high-skill and better-paying jobs in manufacturing, and since trained workers are valuable to companies, job sustainability and layoff aversion is an enhanced benefit."