Hinds CC helps make career changes possible for nursing, allied health graduates

Posts by tag: career-technical education

Hinds CC helps make career changes possible for nursing, allied health graduates
Posted by
27 July

Hinds CC helps make career changes possible for nursing, allied health graduates

PEARL – When Judye Braneff’s job in the banking industry was eliminated, it was time to come up with Plan B.

Judye Braneff, left, of Jackson, and Tamara Daniels, of Vaughan, share a pose before summer graduation ceremonies July 27 at the Muse Center on the Rankin Campus. Each earned an Associate of Applied Science degree in Health Information Technology. (Hinds Community College/April Garon)


 “I lost my job in the industry and came to Hinds,” said Braneff, 60, of Jackson, who had her aptitude for getting into health data and statistics eyed early on by her instructors.

 “This was a perfect fit for me,” she said as she prepared to graduate among 319 people participating in two summer graduation ceremonies July 27 at the Muse Center on the Rankin Campus. In all, 391 credentials were conferred to 611 who graduated from the college. 

Braneff, who earned an Associate in Applied Science in Health Information Technology, was among about 130 who participated in the 8 a.m. ceremony for nursing and allied health graduates, many of whom switched careers to take advantage of Hinds’ stellar offerings in health-related areas of study. Graduates in academic and career-technical programs received credentials at a ceremony held at 11 a.m.

 “This was a wonderful opportunity to come to Hinds,” said Cherilyn Switzer, 45, of Pearl, who was a teacher’s assistant before moving over to healthcare.

Clyde Wilson, 45, of Jackson, was in a management position before pursuing his own Associate in Applied Science credential in the same field.

Peggy Hobson Calhoun speaks to graduates during summer graduation ceremonies July 27 at the Muse Center on the Rankin Campus. (Hinds Community College/April Garon)

“It’s been a change for me, but I’ve gotten a whole new career now,” Wilson said.

Wilson was among 197 who graduated with honors, in his case cum laude, which is a 3.2 to 3.59 grade point average. Another 47 graduated magna cum laude, or a 3.6 to 3.99 grade point average, and 65 graduated summa cum laude, or a 4.0 grade point average. The total of 197 honor graduates equaled about one-third of the summer graduating class.  

Peggy Hobson Calhoun, who represents District 3 on the Hinds County Board of Supervisors, spoke to graduates at both ceremonies.

“Evaluate needed areas of improvement, and keep your vision alive for your profession,” Calhoun said. 

Clyde Wilson, of Jackson, prepares for summer graduation ceremonies July 27 at the Muse Center on the Rankin Campus. Wilson earned an Associate of Applied Science degree in Health Information Technology. (Hinds Community College/April Garon)

Cherilyn Switzer, of Pearl, adjusts a fellow graduate’s cap before summer graduation ceremonies July 27 at the Muse Center on the Rankin Campus. Switzer earned a Technical Certificate in Surgical Technology. (Hinds Community College/April Garon)

27 July, 2018 News more
Career-tech scholarship eases struggle for Hinds CC student
Posted by
13 July

Career-tech scholarship eases struggle for Hinds CC student


RAYMOND – The struggle has been real for Gena Barlow long before the concept became a popular talking point. 

Gena Barlow

“I was diagnosed with dyslexia at the age of six,” said Barlow, who grew up around the Byram and Terry area. “Back then, there just wasn’t much you could do about it. 


“I had a problem keeping up in school. I’d stay up all night studying, but I just struggled with it so bad. With dyslexia, you’re still as smart as everybody else. It just takes a little longer to get it. When you get older, you then have so much more life experience to draw on, so your mind has calmed down.” 


The 54-year-old mother of five left high school early, but earned a GED a few years later. To support her family, she learned bookkeeping from her own mother and managed apartments and other rental properties.  


“I really wanted to go back to school, because I could hardly support myself since I lived on the properties,” she said. “I just had a fear of failing, and I was busy being a mom.”


A leasing agent at her last apartment complex, who was also attending college at the time, persuaded her to go back to school. 


“I was nervous about taking notes, but she just said, ‘Nah, they have people now who can take notes for you.’ I just said ‘Wow’!” 


Two years later, Barlow finds herself achieving things in school she thought weren’t meant for her. She’s attending Hinds on the Excellence in Career-Technical Education Scholarship, which has helped tremendously in paying for her continuing education. She’s been inducted into the Gamma Lambda Chapter of Phi Theta Kappa on the Raymond Campus and is on track to earn an Associate of Applied Science degree by spring 2019. 


She chose to focus on carpentry based on a previous try at a career in real estate brokerage.  


 “I’ve always liked working with my hands and like to fix things myself,” she said. “I’ve worked around real estate and property management, so now I want to start making money by building the houses myself.”  

Her experience at Hinds far exceeded all her initial expectations about going back to school. 


“The help I got getting through my first few classes is how I got here,” she said. “I wouldn’t have made those grades to get the scholarship. And I had no idea what Phi Theta Kappa was at first – I thought it was a sorority! But having an honor society on your resume will get you into so many things after school. 


“I have loved it because everybody is so nice. I just can’t say enough about the instructors and the people here.” 



Note: This story appears in the summer 2018 issue of Hindsight alumni magazine. Find out more information about the Hinds Alumni Association and Foundation scholarships.

13 July, 2018 News more
Mississippi labor pool grows as 110 earn High School Equivalency at Hinds CC
Posted by
26 June

Mississippi labor pool grows as 110 earn High School Equivalency at Hinds CC

RAYMOND – Brian Tiblier had worked for years in what he called “survival jobs” prior to re-entering school to earn a High School Equivalency certificate.

“I hung drywall and did a lot of commercial painting,” said Tiblier, 48, of Terry, who finished a job of a different kind June 22 by earning his HSE, formerly known as a GED, and valuable job training skills along the way.

Brian Tiblier, center, earned his High School Equivalency certificate this summer through Hinds Community College. With him are Howard Gollotte, an uncle, Jenny Matthews, his mother, Kristi Duran, his girlfriend, and Larry Tiblier, his brother. (Hinds Community College/Tracy Duncan)

Being part of an ongoing program to blend necessary academic courses and career training means Tiblier has the credentials he needs to qualify for the kind of work he pursues.

“I surely needed it for the job I want, in manufacturing by way of the Industrial Maintenance program here at Hinds,” he said.

Tiblier was among 110 people of varying ages and stations in life recognized during a ceremony Friday, June 22 at Cain-Cochran hall on the Raymond Campus. All earned their HSE this academic term. A portion of them had already gone a step further and earned either a technical or career certificate from the college during spring graduation ceremonies in May.

Nearly half, including Tiblier, participated in the MI BEST program at Hinds who received a GED during the ceremony. MI BEST is Mississippi’s version of the nationally recognized Integrating Basic Education and Skills Training program, or I-BEST. It allows adult students to train for a job skill while earning their GED high school equivalency certificate at the same time. Students are prepared to be job-ready in six months to a year, train in high-demand areas and earn national certifications.

Alfred Brown with his mother, Mildred (Hinds Community College/Tracy Duncan)

Kristina Tillett, 16, and Alfred Brown, 22, both of Vicksburg, earned their HSE certificates after difficulties in high school in recent years.

“High school just wasn’t for me,” said Tillett, who earned honor student status in the program and is eligible for a half-tuition scholarship to earn college credit going forward.

Brown left high school before his senior year. His results in the classroom in just a few years speaks volumes, as he’s now earned a high school equivalency, a career certificate in Culinary Arts Technology and his ServSafe food and beverage safety certificate.

“I had to help out my mom and sister,” Brown said. “But, being in the program kept me from just staying at home. This is all about the pride and happiness I get from being in the kitchen.”

Mary Powers, workforce director for Central Mississippi Planning and Development District, spoke to this year’s recipients on the value of their accomplishment down the road in life. She used the analogy of riding a dead horse to mark how important an accomplishment the ceremony represented.

Kristina Tillett, center-right, earned her High School Equivalency certificate this summer through Hinds Community College. With her are Marta Nixon, her mother, Debbie Denley, her grandmother, and Marisa Nixon, her sister. (Hinds Community College/Tracy Duncan)

“I want you to think about yourselves and your circumstances before you came to Hinds,” Powers asked of the newly-minted high school graduates. “None of you had a high school diploma. What matters is somewhere along the way, you realized your horse was dead. Maybe you tried to get a job, and they turned you down. Maybe you got a job, but it didn’t pay very much.

“You and Hinds Community College have buried those dead horses. You can decide to take on anything you decide to take on. Some of you have gone further and maybe gotten a career certificate. You have my utmost respect, as it took a lot of courage and effort on your part.”


Hinds Community College President Dr. Clyde Muse presents a plaque to Mary Powers, workforce director for Central Mississippi Planning and Development District, during a ceremony June 22 at Cain-Cochran Hall on the Raymond Campus recognizing those who had earned a High School Equivalency through the college. At right is Dr. Chad Stocks, vice president of Career and Technical Education and Workforce Development. (Hinds Community College/Tracy Duncan)





Eighty-three HSE recipients present Friday and their state hometowns included:

Victoria Adams, Vicksburg

Ayana Alexander, Jackson

Shanada Alexander, Jackson

Jadarian Amos, Jackson

Braxton Bailey, Raymond

Houston Connor Battenfield, Raymond

LaRhonda Bell, Raymond

Arlando Bingham, Pearl

Allexis Brooks, Raymond

Memory Brooks, Raymond

Alfred Brown, Vicksburg

Olga Burgess, Jackson

LaVoshia Carson, Raymond

Maria Chavez, Jackson

Lauren Dalton, Vicksburg

Kenda Darby, Utica

Denesa Davis, Utica

Lemarcus Dixon, Jackson

London Duke, Vicksburg

Adarius Evans, Raymond

Jessica Evans, Utica

Jasmine Felps, Raymond

Hanna Fortenberry, Pearl

Patrick Gerard, Pearl

Lauren Geter, Raymond

Darryl Gilmore, Raymond

Alexander Pryce Greenlee, Raymond

LaTricia Greer, Pearl

LaToya Gusta, Vicksburg

Jennifer Hampton, Vicksburg

Sakinah Hatch, Utica

Johnna Lacie Henson, Vicksburg

David Holiday, Raymond

Nicholas Humphery, Raymond

Chelsha Hunter, Raymond

Forrest James, Vicksburg

American Johnson, Vicksburg

Jayquan J.G.Johnson, Raymond

Tekesan Johnson, Utica

Audreia Jones, Jackson

Taneisha Kittling, Rankin County

Karah Klemme, Vicksburg

Tabatha Brooks Lelonek, Vicksburg

Meghin Lick, Vicksburg

Taylor Lick, Vicksburg

Monifah Lockhart, Utica

Misty Lopez, Raymond

Chad Martin, Jackson

Ivin McFarland, Raymond

Dearell McGill, Utica

Allexis Moore, Vicksburg

Diavion Mosley, Raymond

Cheyenne Parker, Rankin County

Viviane Petienve, Raymond

Angelica Pigee, Raymond

Shane Michael Pyron, Clinton

Ta’Neeshana Qualls, Vicksburg

Niger Ragsdale, Vicksburg

Kimberly Rather, Vicksburg

Ian Rehers, Raymond

Megan N. Resendiz-Barrera, Raymond

Lela Richardson, Raymond

Terrilicia Robinson, Jackson

McKaelyn Sanders, Rankin County

Jessica Sanford, Rankin County

Kelicia Shoto, Rankin County

Shetogie Sims, Raymond

Eddie Singleton, Jackson

Jessica Spann, Brandon

Eric Stimage, Utica

Toujour Tate, Vicksburg

Damario Terry, Jackson

Erin K. Terry, Vicksburg

Brian Tiblier, Terry

Kristina Tillett, Vicksburg

Damesha Toney, Jackson

Mattilyn Wade, Vicksburg

Devin Wall Sr., Utica

Latonia Washington, Jackson

Chester Webster, Vicksburg

Ayla Whitehead, Raymond

Darrenlyn Williams, Utica

Joshua Wilson, Jackson

Charakey Wright, Rankin County

26 June, 2018 News more
Hinds CC, partners celebrate Metrocenter Mall project
Posted by
03 April

Hinds CC, partners celebrate Metrocenter Mall project

JACKSON – Donning hardhats and wielding sledgehammers, partners in a venture to create a “Comprehensive One-Stop Center” for workforce training and support services celebrated the launch of the project on March 29.

From left, Jackson Councilman Aaron Banks, Councilman De’Keither Stamps, Hinds County Board of Supervisors Mike Morgan, Councilman Charles Tillman, Hinds Board of Trustees President Paul Breazeale, Hinds President Dr. Clyde Muse, Jackson Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba, Central Mississippi Planning and Development District Workforce Training Director Mary Powers, Mississippi Community College Board President Lee Bush, Hinds County Supervisor Peggy Hobson Calhoun, Hinds Vice President Dr. Chad Stocks, Hinds District Director for Integrated Pathways Dr. Robin Parker, Retro-Metro Managing Partner Leroy Walker, and Hinds Director of Workforce Manufacturing Training David Creel (Hinds Community College/April Garon)

The center will house multiple career-technical and workforce training programs aimed at both high-tech training and middle-skill education along with support services in part of Metrocenter Mall.

The project to redevelop the former Belk and, previously, McRae’s department store into a 189,000-square-foot center for workforce training promises to be a driver of economic development for central Mississippi, speakers said.

“This is a very significant event in the life of Hinds Community College,” said Hinds President Dr. Clyde Muse before more than 200 guests at the announcement held inside the old store space. “It’s taken so many people to help bring this together.”

At the top of the list, Muse credited the Central Mississippi Planning and Development District and the Hinds County Board of Supervisors.

“It’s a collaboration between a lot of different agencies as well as community helpers,” Muse said. “A person no longer has to spend a lot of time trying to find agencies to help them get a job or be trained for a job. It’ll be right here. It’s going to be a wonderful economic development opportunity for our area, and it’ll serve 17 counties in this area of the state.”

The center would encompass now vacant space on both floors of the southeast end of Metrocenter mall that formerly housed bustling retail shops. The bottom floor will include an event area and programs for metal fab machining and welding. The top floor would include the bulk of the offices for all the partners and more classrooms, including those for mechatronics, robotics and 3D design.

Hinds would administer the center on behalf of all the partners, which includes multiple government agencies and private partners.

“None of this would be possible today without the support of the partners you’ve heard about,” said Dr. Chad Stocks, vice president for Career and Technical Education and Workforce Development, who thanked members of the partnership for exploring other venues in the Southeast during nearly two years of planning leading up to the announcement.

“The vision has always been there, and it’s given us an opportunity to repurpose this store, where the old arcade games will probably turn into simulators. Today, it’s not enough to get a job. You’ve got to get a skill for high-wage jobs and good careers,” he said.

Dr. Robin Parker, district director of Integrated Pathways at Hinds Community College, speaks to those gathered for the public announcement of the Comprehensive One-Stop Center at the former Belk department store at Metrocenter Mall in south Jackson. (Hinds Community College/April Garon)

Hinds County is allocating .92 mills of property taxes annually, or about $1.6 million, for the college’s share of the money to fund the operation. The center will not only be financially self-supporting through millage and external grant funding, but it also has the potential to increase enrollment by tapping into an unserved population of students.

Mike Morgan, president of the Hinds County Board of Supervisors, dreamed of a large sign that says “Hinds Community College” at the entrance. “What are people going to think when they see that sign? They’re going to think education; they’re going to think training,” he said.

The center also will have classrooms for MIBEST, a community college program that teaches adult students without a high school diploma both academic and technical skills so they will be job ready.

Jackson Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba said the project “checks so many boxes” for bringing south Jackson back to life. “There’s no reason for Highway 18 and Highway 80 to not look like Lakeland Drive.

“There was a day and time where you had people waiting for jobs,” Lumumba said. “Now, we have arrived at a point where we have jobs waiting for people.”

The center’s focus will also be on other workforce-related and support services for those students, such as job search, workshops, assistance with unemployment insurance benefits, funding to pay for career tech training, on-the-job training opportunities, TANF/ SNAP, Vocational Rehabilitation and others.

Officials who spoke at the ceremony, which capped off by having each take a sledgehammer to a wall that once divided parts of the old store, lauded the efforts of CMPDD, a key economic development agency for the region, for helping kick-start the project.

“For probably the first time in the history of workforce, we all came together with a common purpose in mind,” said Mary Powers, workforce director for the agency. “It was to develop a plan that would provide all of our services in concert together to meet the need of people and the businesses.

From left, Retro Metro Managing Partner Leroy Walker, Central Mississippi Planning and Development District Workforce Training Director Mary Powers, Hinds President Dr. Clyde Muse, Central Mississippi Planning and Development District Executive Director Mike Monk (Hinds Community College/April Garon)

“People will be able to get the services they need, the training they need and the skills they need to walk out the door with a job. And they’ll get all those services in the same place,” she said.

Once started, renovation is expected to take about six months.

“We’ve got to make the community better by having skilled workers in our community. That’s why we’re investing our money, our time and our resources in this effort,” said Leroy Walker, managing partner of Retro-Metro, which owns the space and will lease it to Hinds.

Walker said a revitalized mall with workforce development as its focus will be a “generator” for economic development in the area around the former retail mecca where highways 80 and 18 essentially meet.

The college’s administrative functions for MIBEST, Adult Basic Education, the Early Childhood Academy and career-tech programs related to manufacturing could be moved to the One-Stop Center in the future to support the initiative.

Hinds President Dr. Clyde Muse, with one of the sledgehammers used to signify the start of renovations for the Comprehensive One-Stop Center in the former Belk department store at Metrocenter Mall. (Hinds Community College/April Garon)

“To put this in perspective, the workforce training and student service area equates to three football fields of space,” said Dr. Robin Parker, District Director of Integrated Pathways, which involves programs such as MIBEST that links high school and college credentials with job-training. “Throughout the process of working on this project, we have heard so many Metrocenter stories. We are thrilled to be a part of writing the next chapter.”


03 April, 2018 News more
Ag alum credits department icons for his success
Posted by
28 March

Ag alum credits department icons for his success

 Note: The following story appears in the spring issue of Hindsight alumni magazine. For more information about the Hinds Alumni Association, see the website. To apply for a Hinds Community College Foundation scholarship, go to the Admissions tab on college web site at or click here.

Almost anyone with fond memories of their days as a student at Hinds Community College has a favorite “Hinds story.” Matt Woods is no exception.

Matt Woods

His favorite story involves an apple and what he carried on as a family tradition in English instructor Jenny Muse’s class. It started with his father, Alvin Woods, who walked into Muse’s class “brushing an apple on his shirt, plopped it on her desk and winked at her.”

Matt Woods remembered the story when he started at Hinds the week after he graduated from high school.

“A group of us from south Jackson rode together here for the first day of class. I told the others I’d be a little late, but I’d be there in just a second,” he recalled.

Muse “called roll and got to ‘Matt Woods,’ then said ‘I guess he’s not going to be with us today.’ I opened the door and walked through everybody up to her desk and said, ‘Ms. Muse, I apologize for my tardiness’ while I shined an apple on my shirt. I plopped it on her desk and winked at her.

“She said, ‘You’ve got to be Alvin Woods’ son!’”

Once he got inside the classroom, Woods found success and honed skills learned being around his father’s feed mill. He was a member of the Agriculture Club and the livestock judging team. He credits a handful of people who Woods said were “more than just instructors” to him, including Billie Banes, Drs. Thad Owens, Bill Dixon and Roger Jones. Jones has worked at Hinds since 1970 and still chairs the college’s Agriculture Department. The tutelage helped Woods earn his bachelor’s degree from Mississippi State University, in Agriculture Education.

“They prepared us for college life and the real world,” he said. “And they did it with a caring, yet firm hand.”

Jones remembers seeing signs of success early in Woods’ days as a student.

“Matt was a very conscientious and hardworking student that was always very mature for his age,” Jones said. “I have seen him use skills he had in student organizations at Hinds, along with the knowledge he gained as a student here and at Mississippi State University to become very successful. I am proud of the man he has become.”

Woods worked at his father’s feed mill briefly after college, then returned to Hinds in 1995 to earn an Emergency Medical Technology certificate to bolster his stock as a volunteer firefighter in Learned. In 1998, he took up a job offer from Jackson-based Cal-Maine Foods – the nation’s largest producer and marketer of shell eggs – after mulling becoming a teacher himself. He worked in the central purchasing area for 17 years before becoming chief of the company’s feed mill in 2015.

“The most rewarding part of my job is to look at the eggs we produce and to know those birds were fed through feed mills I’m responsible for,” he said. “It’s also very challenging because we want to be the most wholesome, safest food source there is.”

He has also been a hand-up to some of the best students who’ve graduated from the Agriculture Department in recent years. That includes Christopher McCloud, who manages the company’s feed mill in Watts, Okla., and Austin Van Etten, an assistant manager in Hammond, La. “The students who come through the department here have the skills and knowledge to either step straight into the workforce and be a productive employee, or go on to a university and pursue a bachelor’s degree,” he said.

His Hinds experience has continued beyond his days as a student. As a member of the advisory council for the Agriculture Department, he helped develop the curriculum for the Animal Science Technology, Poultry Option class introduced in 2015.

“If Hinds Community College went further than two years, I’d probably be working on my tenth doctorate degree right now,” he said. “I would never have left. Nothing compared to my time here. It made for an easy transition from being a high school kid to being a college student.”

28 March, 2018 News more
Hinds CC academic, technical graduates thrived upon return to school
Posted by
18 December

Hinds CC academic, technical graduates thrived upon return to school

PEARL – Justice Munn is a third-generation member of his family’s business, Munn Enterprises, but found himself at a crossroads just a year ago in his young, adult life.

His skills as a mechanic were being tested mightily by the evolving technology of today’s diesel engines. “You can’t even diagnose today’s engines without a computer,” Munn said.

Justice Munn (Hinds Community College/April Garon)

“I’m a mechanic and I wanted to return to school for better pay and a chance to open my own shop,” said Munn, of Sumrall, as he prepared to earn career and technical certificates from Hinds Community College during graduation ceremonies held Dec. 15 at the Muse Center on the Rankin Campus.

Being in the Diesel Equipment Technology program helped him hone his skills and opened doors to earning further credentials down the road – all the while setting him up to earn more money now.

“I enjoyed it at Hinds,” he said. “I would do it again in a heartbeat.”

Hinds Community College graduated more than 1,000 students in the three ceremonies.

“The power of education is that it drives our vision for a better life. And, while the graduates who sit upon this stage today represent a diverse set of circumstances, they are connected by their belief that a community college education is a step up to a broader opportunity to build a better life and to contribute to the communities in which we live,” said Hinds president Dr. Clyde Muse in his address to graduates.

Student diplomas this year included a gold seal celebrating the college’s 100th anniversary.

Among the graduates, 129 achieved summa cum laude, a 4.0 grade point average; 74 achieved magna cum laude, a 3.6 to 3.99 GPA and 21 achieved cum laude, 3.2 to 3.59.

Lychanda Brown, left, and Jennifer Burnett (Hinds Community College/April Garon)

The spirit of achievement also reached Hinds faculty who returned to the classroom to build skills.

“In cosmetology, we have to market ourselves anyway,” said Lychanda Brown, of Raymond, an instructor of Cosmetology at the Utica Campus. Brown earned an Associate of Applied Science in marketing, as well as career and technical certificates.

For Jennifer Burnett, a custodian on the Utica Campus, it was a chance to get into computer programming, in which she earned a career certificate. “It was time to move on up,” Burnett said.

Speaking to academic and career and technical education graduates was Joy Rhoads, a history and geography instructor at the Rankin Campus and coordinator of the campus’ Honors Institute.

Rhoads told graduates to be open to all the challenges life might bring after graduation, using her own experience as a master’s student as an example.

“I realized, very quickly, that being Joy the student was a vastly different experience than being Ms. Rhoads the instructor,” Rhoads said. “Discerning how to effectively balance my family, my job, and my schoolwork was another challenge to an already challenging degree path. It truly was an epiphany – my light bulb moment – when I understood that all my students face many of these very things and more. So, when you are navigating what comes next, be open to being humbled.”

From left, Ashlyn Cole, Tomaz Buckley and Crisanthony Frazier, all of whom earned degrees Dec. 15 with the Deaf and Hard of Hearing program (Hinds Community College/April Garon)

LaKendra Cork, right, of Louise, prepares for graduation ceremonies Dec. 15 at Hinds Community College. Cork earned an Associate of Applied Science in Early Childhood Education Technology. (Hinds Community College/April Garon)










From left, Meagan Frey and Tia Fortenberry,
both of whom completed the Paralegal Technology program (Hinds Community College/April Garon)

Jonathan Graham was among more than 1,000 who graduated Dec. 15 from Hinds Community College. Graham earned an Associate of Applied Science degree and was part of the M2M program at Hinds. (Hinds Community College/April Garon)










From left, Jason Holman, Taylor Houston and Cortland Hay, all of whom earned credentials after completing computer technology programs at the college (Hinds Community College/April Garon)

Bethany C. Johnson, center, of Vicksburg, was among more than 1,000 who graduated from Hinds Community College in ceremonies held Dec. 15. She earned an Associate of Arts degree in Veterinary Technology. With her, from left, is her boyfriend Douglas Vice, her sister Ashley Johnson, her mother Beverly Johnson, her brother-in-law Richard Berryman, her father Jimmy Johnson and sister Jamie Johnson. (Hinds Community College/April Garon)












From left, Madison Spell, of Raymond, and Martha McPhail, of Kosciusko (Hinds Community College/April Garon)

From left, Rico West and Richard Newell, both of Jackson and earned credentials in Welding Technology (Hinds Community College/April Garon)









From left, Secrett Winters and Denitta White, both of Jackson and earned degrees in Business Technology (Hinds Community College/April Garon)



18 December, 2017 News more
Grandmother’s pursuit of passion highlights Hinds CC fall graduation
Posted by
08 December

Grandmother’s pursuit of passion highlights Hinds CC fall graduation

JACKSON – Kneedra Bell grew up watching TV’s original food personality, Julia Child, explain the finer points of cooking and saw herself in the down-to-earth, sometimes mistake-prone host of “The French Chef.”

Kneedra Bell, of Clinton, a culinary arts student at Hinds Community College, moves some marinated shrimp from one pan to another during the third annual Fall FEASTival at Township at Colony Park in Ridgeland on Oct. 26, 2017. Teams of Hinds culinary students from the Jackson Campus competed against each other at the event, which was presented by the Partnership for a Healthy Mississippi. (Hinds Community College/Danny Barrett Jr.)

“Watching Julia made me feel good about mistakes because that taught viewers like me that it was OK to make a mistake,” Bell said. “She showed us that mistakes can teach us to do it better or correctly the next time we try.”

Bell, 51, who was born in Edwards and grew up in Los Angeles where her family moved, later attended college in California and majored in chemical engineering, which at the time she viewed as an adequate career path for a single, unwed mother who needed to support an infant daughter. “But, engineering was not my passion – cooking was, which made it easier for me to simply chose to stop going to college and work full-time to support my family. I promised I would “one day” return to college to complete my college education.”

Nearly 30 years, two marriages and five grandchildren later, she’s about to make good on that promise. On Dec. 15, she joins more than 1,000 other students who will earn their credentials from Hinds Community College in three ceremonies at the Muse Center on the Rankin Campus.

In addition to the Associate of Applied Science degree and career and technical certificates she’ll have, she will have also earned the respect of peers and instructors on many fronts. She’s worked five days a week as a bus driver for the Clinton Public School District while attending classes and study groups at Jackson Campus-Academic/Technical Center.

“She is the first to arrive, last to leave and is completely giving of herself, her time, and her talents,” said Chef Austin Lee, director of the Culinary Arts Institute at Hinds. “And she is more interested in the team crossing the finish line than making it herself.”

For Bell, it’s a team that includes her “culinary family” of classmates in the kitchen, her “student-children” on her bus each morning and, of course, her own three children and five grandchildren.

“Being a single mom made juggling my job, school and my home life a demanding challenge,” she said. “My schoolwork became my social life. I established a committed relationship with my books. I had a date-night seven nights a week with my homework. I embraced the struggle of my doing my homework in tandem with helping my children with their homework.

“Hinds Community College will always be a historic landmark in my heart that marks a successful chapter in my life’s journey.”

08 December, 2017 News more
Hinds CC partnership with industry plays key role in state’s first apprenticeship registry
Posted by
02 November

Hinds CC partnership with industry plays key role in state’s first apprenticeship registry

RICHLAND – Empire Truck Sales and Stribling Equipment, who partner with Hinds Community College on the Diesel Equipment Technology Academy in Richland, have signed an agreement with the college to become the first businesses to participate in the Mississippi Apprenticeship Program.

From left, Glenn McCullough, executive director of the Mississippi Development Authority, Hinds President Dr. Clyde Muse, Dr. Andrea Mayfield, executive director of the Mississippi Community College Board, Jerry Swanson, CEO of Empire Truck Sales and Stribling Equipment and Gov. Phil Bryant (Hinds Community College/April Garon)

The program aims to develop new and diverse sponsors for registered apprenticeship and expand the state’s capacity to support them. MAP, an initiative led by Gov. Phil Bryant’s office, the Mississippi Community College Board in partnership with community colleges and their partners in business, industry and other sectors, the Mississippi Department of Employment Security and the Mississippi Development Authority, will provide resources to industries across the state to support employee on-the-job training.

Principals in the effort signed the agreement Oct. 31 at the Hinds Diesel Equipment Technology Academy in Richland. They included Hinds President Dr. Clyde Muse, Jerry Swanson, president of Empire Truck Sales and Stribling Equipment, Woodrow Middleton, state director for the U.S. Department of Labor Office of Apprenticeship and Dr. Andrea Mayfield, executive director of the Mississippi Community College Board.

“It’s been a great partnership with Hinds and you see a number of the students here today as evidence of the support they’re receiving from those two companies,” Muse said during a brief program before the signing. He also noted the experienced assistance, scholarships and up-to-date equipment available to students in the program.

Bryant credited the Legislature for allocating about $50 million for workforce training programs and the U.S. Department of Labor for being a valuable partner for the MAP, specifying a “unified and cooperative federalism” between the state and the federal Cabinet department.

Students and instructors in the Diesel Equipment Technology program at Hinds Community College gather with state officials including Gov. Phil Bryant during a ceremony Oct. 31 to become part of the Mississippi Apprenticeship Program. (Hinds Community College/April Garon)

“The Mississippi Apprenticeship Program and the partnership between Empire Truck Sales, Stribling Equipment and Hinds Community College will allow individuals at these two businesses to learn real-world job skills necessary for them to be successful employees,” Bryant said.

The trucking industry, specifically the field of modern-day diesel mechanic work, was an appropriate backdrop for the signing ceremony. Gov. Phil Bryant’s father was a diesel mechanic and worked at Empire during his professional career. The host facility for the ceremony is a state-of-the-art complex where students train on the latest technology in the ever-evolving field of diesel mechanics. The accelerated career pathway allows students to earn technical and career certificates with a chance to earn a full Associate of Applied Science degree. Once in the field, diesel technicians can work their way up to certifications that pay up to $73,000 annually.

“As a workforce strategy, with on-the-job training experience, the apprentice has the opportunity to earn and learn,” Mayfield said. “And they also make connections in the workplace.”

“Everybody here is a stakeholder in this adventure,” Swanson said, crediting Dr. Chad Stocks, vice president of Workforce Development at Hinds, for his role in helping turn the college’s already vibrant partnership into Tuesday’s event. “With his leadership, this has happened and we’re very proud of it.”

02 November, 2017 News more
Hinds CC instructor drafts new career as Fab Lab director
Posted by
26 September

Hinds CC instructor drafts new career as Fab Lab director

Note: The following story appears in the fall issue of Hindsight alumni magazine. For more information about the Hinds Alumni Association, see the website.

RAYMOND – Phil Cockrell has struck when the iron was hot, so to speak, many times in his professional career.

These days, the material he works with is more plastic than iron and his equipment is actually the “coolest” on campus.

Phil Cockrell, inside the Fab Lab (Hinds Community College/April Garon)

Phil Cockrell, inside the Fab Lab (Hinds Community College/April Garon)

Cockrell, a Magee native and Brandon resident, instructs courses in the Engineering and Drafting Design Technology program. He’s also the director of the Fab Lab on the Raymond Campus, which opened in August. He says it’s a place where students, faculty, industry and the public alike can, as Cockrell puts it, “Imagine, design and build.”

“It’s for prototyping products for any number of purposes, and it’s open to students, faculty and the public,” Cockrell said. “Theoretically, you could come up with an idea for a product and patent it, as teenagers in similar labs in other states have done.”

Located in the Vocational Technical Building A, the lab is outfitted with 3-D printing machines, laser cutters and related equipment capable of etching designs or cutting flat sheet material such as acrylic and metal. The resulting prototypes are limitless – from small trinkets such as a cartoon character’s crown to a full 3-D reproduction of parts used in heavy industry and the human form itself.

Printing in 3-D involves programming a set of instructions into a central control panel or a separate computer, then loading the appropriate material – often forms of polyvinyl plastic – into a feeder line where the material is melted and flows through mechanical arms to “print” an object based on the instructions.

The lab was financed through the Predominantly Black Institutions Formula grant and is the first member lab in Mississippi of the U.S. Fab Lab Network, a group of 76 high schools, colleges, universities and businesses nationwide. An introductory non-credit course launched the lab in August 2017  for students while Cockrell began training instructors to become certified on the equipment.

A mechanical arm inside a 3D printer prints an object in the Fab Lab. (Hinds Community College/April Garon)

A mechanical arm inside a 3D printer prints an object in the Fab Lab. (Hinds Community College/April Garon)

All the heady technology has transformed what was once simply called drafting, said Cockrell, a former Simpson County sheriff’s deputy who switched careers to return to school at age 28.

“I was getting married and I wanted to make a career change,” he said. “I did some research, and drafting and design was getting to be a hot field. Hinds’ program had a really good reputation, so I got out of law enforcement and came back to school.”

Cockrell’s wife, Rebecca, graduated from the Associate Degree Nursing program at Hinds and is Learning Lab/Clinical Placement coordinator at the Jackson Campus-Nursing/Allied Health Center.

He earned an Associate of Applied Science degree in Drafting and Design Technology, graduating summa cum laude. It was a line of work that was changing along with the world itself, as the Internet opened new possibilities.

“Technology made things easier,” he said. “Instead of working out a set of house plans by hand, I could sit at a computer and do a set of house plans in a fraction of the time. I could manipulate it a lot easier on a computer than by hand.

“As a student, I was well-prepared for the industry, as I worked part-time doing small parts for air conditioning systems and in construction,” he said. “Eventually, I was able to take a building, design it, estimate it and project-manage it. Hinds prepared me to do that.”

His instructors took note of his skill set when the time came to launch his second career.

“Phil was always a class leader, the first to volunteer for outside projects and excelled in his coursework,” said Cindy West, dean of Career and Technical Education for the Raymond Campus and Cockrell’s instructor for Drafting and Design. “Phil’s name was always at the top of my ‘short list’ of former students to call in the event there was ever an open instructor position.”

While the Cockrells vacationed in late 2007, and after he contemplated going to nursing school, a position indeed came open and his teaching vocation began.

“I enjoy the classroom setting, especially watching students as they start to get the concept. That’s a joy.”

[tweetable alt=””]Hinds CC instructor drafts new career as Fab Lab director[/tweetable]      

26 September, 2017 News more
Summer interns at Continental have tuition at Hinds CC paid by company
Posted by
11 September

Summer interns at Continental have tuition at Hinds CC paid by company

RAYMOND – Four Hinds Community College students who interned with Continental Tire over the summer have even more of a reason to cherish their nine weeks of paid training at the company’s tire plant in Mount Vernon, Ill.

Continental has covered tuition for the fall 2017 semester for Dylan Canant, Mack Pope, Samuel Williams and Cody Waddell. The students had been placed at Continental’s maintenance department for on-the-job experience in electrical, electronic, mechanical and hydraulic systems.

Hinds students Dylan Canant, from left, Mackie Pope, Samuel Williams and Cody Waddell spent their summer as interns for Continental Tire in Mount Vernon, Ill. (Submitted to Hinds Community College)

Hinds students Dylan Canant, from left, Mack Pope, Samuel Williams and Cody Waddell spent their summer as interns for Continental Tire in Mount Vernon, Ill. (Submitted to Hinds Community College)

The students’ enthusiasm and aptitude for their budding careers with the company building a $1.45 billion plant in western Hinds County near Clinton that’s planned to open in 2019.

“During my visit to Mount Vernon, I heard nothing but positive feedback about our interns from Mississippi. They obviously did a great job and were great ambassadors,” said Michael Egner, project manager with Continental. “The student’s success is proof that we’ve found a strong partner in Hinds Community College. Together, we can build a great workforce and future for Continental in Mississippi.”

Pope, an Electronics student on the Raymond Campus, and Canant, an Electrical Technology student on the Raymond Campus, counted the exposure to new people and faces as a plus to go along with the diversified workforce training.

“Being an electronics tech I came here expecting to do electronics,” Pope said. “However I was hired as a multi-tech, meaning that I would also do electricians and mechanics work on top of that. It has been a wonderful experience meeting new people.”

“My experience has been really great and I am really proud of myself and the people who pushed me to do this,” Canant said. “This is a once-in-a-lifetime thing for anybody who gets this opportunity. It is one of the best experiences I have ever had in my life.”

Waddell, an Industrial Mechanics and Maintenance Technology student at the Vicksburg-Warren Campus, took note during his internship of the vibrant culture that existed in the plant as he learned to troubleshoot, install and repair tire components in the mixing department.

“This company cares about their employees and it’s obvious to anyone who works here,” Waddell said. “And that alone is most interesting thing to me about this experience.”

Maintenance technicians will be some of the first positions filled when hiring begins in the commercial vehicle tire plant in late 2018. As one of the key roles in Continental’s daily operations, maintenance technicians are responsible for both reactive and preventive maintenance of equipment throughout the facility.

Williams, an Industrial Maintenance Technology student at the Rankin Campus, hopes to fill one of those roles thanks to the unique opportunity he had this past summer.

“I’ve learned new things I didn’t think were possible,” Williams said, adding he learned correct workplace safety tips through the use of Personal Protective Equipment. “This has been one of the best opportunities of my life and I am truly blessed to be a part of it.”

[tweetable alt=””]Summer interns at Continental have tuition at Hinds CC paid by company[/tweetable]


11 September, 2017 News more