By Josh Mitchell
Corinth Today News Editor
More adults now have the opportunity to earn their high school equivalency and gain job skills thanks to 2nd Chance MS.
The organization is providing $50,000 to help 50 students go through an education program at Northeast Mississippi Community College in Corinth.
The partnership between the college and 2nd Chance Mississippi was announced Monday at the Corinth campus.
Zach Scruggs with 2nd Chance Mississippi said the program will help the state combat many of its challenges, including the high number of dropouts. Mississippi also needs to improve when it comes to its labor participation rate, he added.
The lack of a skilled and educated workforce is a barrier when it comes to drawing industry to the state, he added.
“The lack of an educated and skilled workforce is the root cause of every other problem we have here in Mississippi,” Scruggs said.
Those problems include poverty, teen pregnancy, obesity, crime and dependence on the government, Scruggs noted.
The good news is that Mississippi has a top-notch community college system that can help address these problems, Scruggs added.
2nd Chance Mississippi will pay the $250 tuition for 50 students to go through the program at Northeast to get their high school equivalency and manufacturing basic skills certification.
As the students go through the six-month program, 2nd Chance MS will provide them with gas cards each week to help with transportation needs. Upon completion of the program, the students will get a $250 bonus.
Students were present for the announcement, and Northeast President Ricky Ford said, “This will open up a whole new avenue for you.”
These “modest, but effective” financial incentives can increase the number of students who enroll in and complete the program, said Scruggs.
Once the students achieve their high school equivalency and get the manufacturing certification they can enter the workforce or continue on with their education.
Scruggs noted that many adults who go back to school struggle with basic needs such as transportation and childcare costs.
Scruggs hopes the program at Northeast can spread to all community colleges in the state and be a model for the future.
Ford said he is “extremely happy” about the partnership and said the students are going to be “part of the workforce that makes Mississippi go.”