http://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=PT+Sans Great-grandmother among 45 at High School Equivalency ceremony at Hinds CC

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Great-grandmother among 45 at High School Equivalency ceremony at Hinds CC
Posted by
06 July

Great-grandmother among 45 at High School Equivalency ceremony at Hinds CC

RAYMOND – Ruby Hardy came home to Jackson last year the way countless people make their way back home – to take care of family.

“I came back to take care my mother,” Hardy said. “It prompted me to go into the job center, but I didn’t qualify much since I didn’t have a GED. I was even thinking of working in foodservice because I have to take care of a family.”

Ruby Hardy

Ruby Hardy

Hardy, 70, was among 45 people of varying ages and stations in life recognized during a ceremony Friday, June 30 at Cain-Cochran Hall on the Raymond Campus for achieving their High School Equivalency certificate, formerly known as the GED, this academic term.

The great-grandmother of five had left Lanier High School before her senior year was up and went to California, where she took part in a jobs program established by the federal government during the Kennedy administration, then worked several years for Pacific Bell in various roles.

“Back then, if you passed an entry-level test, you could just get a job and after about five years, you could move around,” she said. “Nowadays, the first thing they’ll ask you for is a GED or a high school diploma.”

She plans to become a certified medical data technologist and open her own business.

“To reach this milestone, it’s an awesome feeling,” she said. “I never thought I’d be at a loss for words, so that’s the only thing I can say. It’s just awesome.”

Hardy was among eight participants 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.

Tommy Dotson, left, of Vicksburg, shakes hands with Dickie Scruggs following a ceremony June 30, 2017 at Cain-Cochran Hall at Hinds Community College Raymond Campus to recognize those who earned a High School Equivalency certificate this past academic term. (Hinds Community College/Tammi Bowles)

Tommy Dotson, left, of Vicksburg, shakes hands with Dickie Scruggs following a ceremony June 30, 2017 in Cain-Cochran Hall at Hinds Community College Raymond Campus to recognize those who earned a High School Equivalency certificate this past academic term. (Hinds Community College/Tammi Bowles)

Dickie Scruggs, former prominent lawyer and founder of the nonprofit Second Chance Mississippi, spoke to this year’s recipients on the value of their accomplishment down the road in life. The collaborative effort with the state’s community colleges raises awareness and funds for High School Equivalency and adult education.

“My charge to you today is simple,” Scruggs said. “If you will do one thing the rest of your life, you will succeed. Just three words – just show up. If you just show up, anything you undertake to do, chance are you will succeed.”

GED recipients who were honored Thursday and their stated hometowns included:

 

Brianna Allen, Vicksburg

LeDarius Anderson, Byram

Stephanie Bell, Vicksburg
Kadeem Bilal, Clinton
Michael Boyles, Clinton
Amy Bray, Raymond
Brittany Caldwell, Vicksburg
Willie Chapin, Utica
Jason Chapman, Jackson
Lateisha Chatman, Jackson
Tyler  Davenport, Jackson
Tommy Dotson, Vicksburg
Brandi Eucare, Jackson
Connor Evans, Vicksburg
William Everett Jr., Jackson
Bobby Hannah, Jackson
Ruby Hardy, Jackson
Malik Harvey, Byram
Mandy Hart, Raymond
Cherie Hayes, Jackson
Alease Hobson, Jackson
Courtney Holmes, Jackson
Melissa Irby, Jackson
Isreal Jenkins, Clinton
Darien Johnson, Jackson
Kyra King, Vicksburg
Javen Love, Brandon
Rachel Majoria, Vicksburg
Antoniesha McCoy, Jackson
Timothy Myles, Clinton
Khaaliq Nunn, Jackson
Jenny Pettis, Raymond
Chester Price, Jackson
KaDarius Price, Jackson
Valanta Pruitt, Vicksburg
Jarrett Riles, Byram
Octivitia Smith, Jackson
Chyrianne D Sterling, Jackson
Olivia Tarver, Vicksburg
Frank Jr Tullos, Edwards
Rosemary Washington, Clinton
Alexandria Watkins, Raymond
Candace Watson, Byram
Robert Watson, Vicksburg
Tanya White, Jackson
Great-grandmother of five among GED recipients at Hinds CC
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Hinds CC MI-BEST program focus of hearing before lawmakers
Posted by
15 February

Hinds CC MI-BEST program focus of hearing before lawmakers

JACKSON – Napoleon Miller spent his childhood as a ward of the state of Mississippi, bouncing from home to home and school to school.

“I grew up in Mississippi’s foster care system,” Miller said. “I decided to stop going to high school and started Job Corps. When I got there, I started hanging out with the wrong people and I got kicked out.”

Napoleon Miller

Napoleon Miller

It’s a story with much happier present than past, however, thanks to an innovative program in Mississippi community colleges that’s creating more stories like Miller’s.

Miller, 35, of Jackson, worked odd jobs cutting yards and in foodservice before pursuing his GED at Hinds Community College. “When I was almost finished with my GED, my navigator told me about the MI-BEST program. This was an opportunity for me to continue working on my GED and start training for a career.”

Miller shared his story of success in the program with state lawmakers Tuesday, Feb. 14 during a hearing on the program before the House Workforce Development Committee.

“I found out that I would make more money and have more opportunity for work if I majored in Industrial Maintenance,” he told the committee, referring to the expansive program at Hinds which combines an array of disciplines to prepare students for modern-day manufacturing equipment. He graduated in December 2016 with a career certificate and is working toward an Associate of Applied Science degree from Hinds.

MI-BEST is Mississippi’s version of the nationally recognized Integrating Basic Education and Skills Training program, or I-BEST, and originated in Washington state. The program kicked off a few years ago with federal funds and allows adult students to train for a job skill while earning their GED high school equivalency certificate at the same time. In Mississippi, MI-BEST was implemented at each state community college back in the fall thanks to a $6 million grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.

David Creel, district Director of Manufacturing Training at Hinds Community College, at left, speaks to the House Workforce Development Committee during a hearing on the MI-BEST program on Feb. 14, 2017. Seated in the foreground is state Rep. Ashley Henley, R-Southaven. From center-right, Dr. Robin Parker, assistant dean of Career/Technical Education at the Raymond Campus; Napoleon Miller, MI-BEST student; and Beverly Trimble, MI-BEST coordinator at the Utica Campus. (Hinds Community College/Cathy Hayden)

David Creel, district director of Manufacturing Training at Hinds Community College, at left, speaks to the House Workforce Development Committee during a hearing on the MI-BEST program on Feb. 14, 2017. Seated in the foreground is state Rep. Ashley Henley, R-Southaven. From center-right, Dr. Robin Parker, assistant dean of Career/Technical Education at the Raymond Campus; Napoleon Miller, a Hinds student who completed the MI-BEST program; and Beverly Trimble, MI-BEST coordinator at the Utica Campus. (Hinds Community College/Cathy Hayden)

Students are prepared to be job-ready in six months to a year, train in high-demand areas and earn national certifications.

At Hinds, program coordinators have worked closely with those in the burgeoning Industrial Maintenance area of study, said David Creel, district director of Manufacturing Training.

“I work with industry to understand what their needs are, with career-tech deans to understand what the program provided them, and with our MI-BEST and Adult Basic Education teams to get those students to get those basic skills, earn credentials, then go to work,” Creel said.

The program’s impact on the state’s workforce is borne out in data on the skill level of working-age adults. Middle-skill jobs, which require training beyond high school but not a four-year degree, account for 58 percent of Mississippi’s jobs. The MI-BEST program being implemented at all 15 community colleges in the state aims to close this skills gap.

“It’s not uncommon in other states to hear employers say they have job offers available but they don’t have workers to fill them,” said Brooke DeRenzis, state network director of Washington, D.C.-based National Skills Coalition. “Our organization is really focused on closing that skill gap.” DeRenzis told the committee Mississippi was one of 18 states with a version of I-BEST or a similar program in place to combat such gaps.

Industries looking into the program’s success rate to fill their job openings are diverse and span markets inside and outside the state, community college officials told committee members.

Napoleon Miller, left, a Hinds Community College student who completed the MI-BEST program, and Hinds Community College President Dr. Clyde Muse. (Hinds Community College/Cathy Hayden)

Napoleon Miller, left, a Hinds Community College student who completed the MI-BEST program, and Hinds Community College President Dr. Clyde Muse. (Hinds Community College/Cathy Hayden)

“We’re fortunate to be able to offer this to our Adult Education students early on,” said Dr. Scott Alsobrooks, vice president for Economic and Community Development at Pearl River Community College. “Our geographical location really helps us, situated in the Pine Belt but we also cater to the New Orleans and Gulf Coast markets. So, we have recruiters that are petro-based, we have them coming from the shipbuilding market, and we also have the metal trades. The selling point to our students is having a lot of career opportunities.”

“We’ve had enormous success with this program,” said Dr. Jesse Smith, president of Jones County Junior College, during the hearing. “The focus of which is to go to the underprepared student who doesn’t have a high school degree, and at the same time they’re getting their high school equivalency, help them earn a workforce credential.”

MI-BEST program a success in Mississippi
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Grads of workforce development programs shine bright on big day
Posted by
19 December

Grads of workforce development programs shine bright on big day

PEARL — Just two years ago, Ronald Humes had dropped out of high school and was seemingly out of options.

Today, he has credential and a job offer in hand – and he feels on top of his world.

Ronald Humes, center, of Vicksburg, was among nearly 900 students who received credentials from Hinds Community College in three ceremonies Dec. 16. Humes earned a Career Certificate in Welding Technology and, earlier this year, had earned his High School Equivalency after completing the MI-BEST program at Hinds. (Hinds Community College/April Garon)

Ronald Humes, center, of Vicksburg, was among nearly 900 students who received credentials from Hinds Community College in three ceremonies Dec. 16. Humes earned a Career Certificate in Welding Technology and, earlier this year, had earned his High School Equivalency after completing the MI-BEST program at Hinds. (Hinds Community College/April Garon)

“It’s really a dream come true right now,” said Humes, of Vicksburg, among those in academic and technical areas of study who graduated from Hinds Community College Friday, Dec. 16 in ceremonies held at the Muse Center on the Rankin Campus.

Humes had earned his High School Equivalency certificate this past summer after completing the MI-BEST program at Hinds, a program that combines the high school equivalency curriculum with job training skills. Humes’ career certificate in Welding Technology was just the start of his big day Friday.

“I have a job offer right now where I’d make $32 an hour,” Humes said, surrounded by family and friends.

The college graduated nearly 900 students who received 1,263 degrees and certificates, meaning some graduates received more than one credential. Of that number 554 chose to participate in one of the three ceremonies on Friday.

Among the graduates, nine achieved summa cum laude, a 4.0 grade point average; 46 achieved magna cum laude, 3.6 to 3.99 GPA and 110 achieved cum laude, 3.2 to 3.59.

Jimmy Phillips and Thomas Scoggins graduated Hinds Community College on Friday, Dec. 16 with more than their credentials in hand.

Jimmy Phillips, left, of Copiah County, and Thomas Scoggins, of Richland, were among nearly 900 graduates from Hinds Community College who received credentials in three ceremonies Dec. 16, 2016. (Hinds Community College/April Garon)

Jimmy Phillips, left, of Copiah County, and Thomas Scoggins, of Richland, were among nearly 900 graduates from Hinds Community College who received credentials in three ceremonies Dec. 16, 2016. (Hinds Community College/April Garon)

Each has a job offer after completing the Industrial Maintenance program, which prepares students for modern-day manufacturing facilities.

“I’ve got two offers now, in service and technical work,” said Phillips, of Copiah County, who grew up on a cattle farm and, on Friday, earned technical and career certificates in the field. Scoggins, of Richland, whose family owns an industrial equipment business, earned an Associate of Applied Science degree and graduated cum laude.

“I have some offers I’ll be going after, with this degree,” Scoggins said.

Coursework in the program combines previously separate disciplines into a single concept dubbed mechatronics, a multifaceted field of engineering, telecommunications, control and computer engineering.

Keila Adams, of Jackson, grew up with a few family members unable to hear the world around them.

Now, with an Associate of Applied Science degree in Interpreter Technology in hand, Adams will be able to help her and countless others interact with their own loved ones.

Keila Adams, of Jackson, was among nearly 900 graduates at ceremonies held Dec.16 at the Muse Center on the Rankin Campus. She earned an Associate of Applied Science degree in Interpreter Technology, graduating summa cum laude. (April Garon/Hinds Community College)

Keila Adams, of Jackson, was among nearly 900 graduates of Hinds Community College at ceremonies held Dec. 16. She earned an Associate of Applied Science degree in Interpreter Technology, graduating summa cum laude. (April Garon/Hinds Community College)

“Sign language is a totally different language,” Adams said before walking across the stage as a summa cum laude graduate. “It’s a world not only of language, but of facial expressions.”

Hinds President Dr. Clyde Muse noted that many students want to make a better life for them and their families.

“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,” Muse said.

Dr. Bobby Glenn, director of the Veterinary Technology program at Hinds since 1976, spoke to academic and technical graduates on the value of their education in multiple measures.

“Twenty-five percent of first-semester college students do not return for their second semester,” Glenn said. “You did return. And you returned again. And you finished.

“Your degree will open doors that otherwise would not have opened. Wear your degree with pride – you’ve earned it.”

Hinds CC workforce program grads shine bright on big day
Dr. Bobby Glenn and Hinds President Dr. Clyde Muse

Dr. Bobby Glenn and Hinds President Dr. Clyde Muse

Darylle Buckley, right, was among nearly 900 nearly 900 graduates of Hinds Community College at ceremonies held Dec.16. Buckley earned an Associate of Applied Science degree in Landscape Managment Technology. With her is Martha Hill, who directs the program of study. (Hinds Community College/April Garon)

Darylle Buckley, right, of Jackson, was among nearly 900 graduates of Hinds Community College at ceremonies held Dec.16. Buckley earned an Associate of Applied Science degree in Landscape Management Technology. With her is Martha Hill, who directs the program of study. (Hinds Community College/April Garon)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jamie Johnson, center right, was among nearly 900 graduates of Hinds Community College at ceremonies held Dec. 16. Johnson earned an Associate of Arts degree in general studies and plans to pursue a nursing degree. With her is her father, Jimmy Johnson, left, her daughter, Carlie Blok, and her mother, Beverly Johnson. (Hinds Community College/April Garon)

Jamie Johnson, of Vicksburg, center right, was among nearly 900 graduates of Hinds Community College at ceremonies held Dec. 16. Johnson earned an Associate of Arts degree in general studies and plans to pursue a nursing degree. With her is her father, Jimmy Johnson, left, her daughter, Carlie Blok, and her mother, Beverly Johnson. (Hinds Community College/April Garon)

Curtis Hicks, left, was among nearly 900 graduates of Hinds Community College at ceremonies held Dec. 16. Hicks earned an Associate of Arts degree in kinesiology. With him are friends Kayla Thompson, Imani Adams and Tylesha Davis. All were classmates at Northwest Rankin High School. (Hinds Community College/April Garon)

Curtis Hicks, left, was among nearly 900 graduates of Hinds Community College at ceremonies held Dec. 16. Hicks earned an Associate of Arts degree in kinesiology. With him are friends Kayla Thompson, Imani Adams and Tylesha Davis. All were classmates at Northwest Rankin High School. (Hinds Community College/April Garon)

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Student goes from layoff to payoff thanks to Hinds CC MI-BEST program
Posted by
30 November

Student goes from layoff to payoff thanks to Hinds CC MI-BEST program

RAYMOND – Only 18 months ago, Felix Davis found himself laid off from his job and still without a high school diploma.

Fast forward to today, and all his minuses have turned to pluses – to the tune of 26 hours of college credit and a 4.0 GPA thanks to the MI-BEST program at Hinds Community College.

“I was laid off from a job in manufacturing because of downsizing,” Davis said. “I’m a single parent, so I had to get out and do something.”

Felix Davis

Felix Davis

Davis, of Jackson, a 34-year-old father of two girls, met the program’s point person at Hinds, Dr. Robin Parker, at a job fair at Metrocenter Mall not long after he was laid off.

“I didn’t know there was a place you could go to get your GED at the same time as going to college,” Davis said. “I didn’t know that college was even an option, because in the past, not having my high school diploma prevented that.

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.

“Students can earn a high school equivalency while learning a skill,” said Parker, who is district director of Integrated Pathways and coordinator of Adult Basic Education at Hinds. She is also assistant dean of Career/Technical Education on the Raymond Campus.

Parker ties the program’s impact on the state’s workforce to U.S. Census data on skill levels of working-age adults. A 2014 survey of Mississippi adults 25 to 64 years of age showed nearly 30 percent had only a high school diploma, while another large chunk, nearly 24 percent, had some college credit, but didn’t finish.

“And that’s fertile ground in the state of Mississippi because we have a lot of low-skilled adults who really want an opportunity to enter a career to provide for them and their families,” Parker said.

After just eight weeks in the program, Davis landed a job at PCA, a packaging products manufacturer, in Pearl. He’s earned two pay raises and is now making $20 an hour.

In the classroom, Davis has completed those 26 semester hours in the burgeoning Industrial Maintenance area of study, where he’s successfully put past and present together.

“He entered the program focused and determined and quickly used his past manufacturing experience to validate the principles and concepts he was learning in class,” said David Creel, district director of Manufacturing Training at Hinds.

He’s also earned a silver-level Career Readiness Certificate, a credential used by industry to track basic job skills in potential employees. He’s on track to graduate soon with an Associate of Applied Science degree.

“My plan is to reach back into my community and help others who have the same need I had a year ago,” Davis said.

Student goes from layoff to payoff thanks to Hinds CC MI-BEST program
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GED graduates credit persistence after ceremony at Hinds CC
Posted by
27 June

GED graduates credit persistence after ceremony at Hinds CC

RAYMOND – I’Esha Granderson, of Jackson, has rung up many an order since leaving high school without a diploma, mainly pastries and fill-ups at gas stations.

But the Jackson mother of two decided it was time to try for a career instead of settling for low-paying jobs.

I'Esha Granderson, left foreground, shakes hands with David Creel, district Director of Manufacturing Training at Hinds Community College, as she walks across the stage at Cain-Cochran Hall on the college's Raymond Campus to accept her GED certificate on Thursday, June 23, 2016. (April Garon/Hinds Community College)

I’Esha Granderson, left foreground, shakes hands with David Creel, district Director of Manufacturing Training at Hinds Community College, as she walks across the stage at Cain-Cochran Hall on the college’s Raymond Campus to accept her GED certificate on Thursday, June 23, 2016. (April Garon/Hinds Community College)

“I’ve been out of high school eight years working at lot of dead-end jobs,” Granderson said. “I’m 25 with two children, so I felt it was time to move forward with my life.”

Granderson was among 37 people of varying ages and stations in life recognized during a ceremony Thursday, June 23 at Cain-Cochran Hall on the Raymond Campus for achieving their General Education Development high school equivalency certificate this academic term.

She sees herself being in charge of the products once she continues and completes her education – and honor her deceased grandmother along the way.

“Culinary arts and business management,” she said. “I want to own a business and work for myself. That way, I’ll know the quality of food I’m serving other people.”

“My grandmother, Monevia, opened her restaurant in Tchula in 1991, the year I was born. Everyone there knew her as Nancy, or Nan. It was called Nancy’s Kitchen. She ran it herself until she passed away in 2011. I know she’s smiling down on me.”

She was among 11 participants 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.

Another was Ashley Clark, who enrolled in the program at the Vicksburg-Warren Campus five months ago.

Ashley Clark, left, shakes hands with Dr. Chad Stocks, vice president for Workforce Development at Hinds Community College, during a ceremony at Cain-Cochran Hall on the college's Raymond Campus on June 23 recognizing those who earned their GED certificate in the recent academic term. (April Garon/Hinds Community College)

Ashley Clark, left, shakes hands with Dr. Chad Stocks, vice president for Workforce Development at Hinds Community College, during a ceremony at Cain-Cochran Hall on the college’s Raymond Campus on June 23 recognizing those who earned their GED certificate in the recent academic term. (April Garon/Hinds Community College)

“The professional development class offered with the MI-BEST program has helped me bring me to a more professional level,” Clark said. “My employer, friends and family can tell how I carry myself now.

“I’ll have a Career Readiness Certificate by the end of next semester. And I should have my associate’s (two-year degree) by next spring.”

Susan Brown, 60, of Edwards, an employee of Hinds in Admissions, was the eldest student to walk across the stage and receive her diploma. Hinds President Dr. Clyde Muse handed it to her personally.

Susan Brown, left, accepts her GED certificate from Hinds Community College President Dr. Clyde Muse during a ceremony at Cain-Cochran Hall on the college's Raymond Campus on June 23, 2016. (April Garon/Hinds Community College)

Susan Brown, left, accepts her GED certificate from Hinds Community College President Dr. Clyde Muse during a ceremony at Cain-Cochran Hall on the college’s Raymond Campus on June 23, 2016. (April Garon/Hinds Community College)

“One of the people who had really tried to inspire me to go back to school was actually Vashti Muse,” Brown said, referring to Dr. Muse’s wife, who died in 2010. “But I kept putting it off. But, last year, I dug in and said, ‘All I can do is fail, right?’ I just want people to know it doesn’t matter how old you are, you can get a degree.”

Dr. Rachel DeVaughan, an Adult Basic Education program specialist for the Mississippi Community College Board, spoke to this year’s recipients with a message of not giving up despite background and circumstances.

Dr. Rachel DeVaughan, an Adult Basic Education program specialist for the Mississippi Community College Board, speaks during a ceremony at Cain-Cochran Hall on Hinds Community College's Raymond Campus recognizing recipients of GED certificates. (April Garon/Hinds Community College)

Dr. Rachel DeVaughan, an Adult Basic Education program specialist for the Mississippi Community College Board, speaks during a ceremony at Cain-Cochran Hall on Hinds Community College’s Raymond Campus recognizing recipients of GED certificates. (April Garon/Hinds Community College)

DeVaughan, a mother of two, had received a GED by the age of 19 after dropping out of high school. She returned to school at age 28 to pursue her dream of being a teacher, a journey that culminated in 2014 with her earning a doctorate in education.

In between, she rose through the ranks of McDonald’s, where she had first started work at 16, working in management and supervisory roles in the worldwide fast food chain’s restaurants in the U.S. and in England. Since 2005, she has been a middle school teacher, a curriculum specialist and an assistant dean of instruction at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College.

“I knew I wanted more out of my life for my children,” DeVaughan said. “I realized the only way I was ever going to get ahead was to get more education.

“Some of you might not feel very confident as a student, and that’s OK,” she said. “Confidence is a feeling. Courage, on the other hand, is a choice. And you were courageous in your choice to come to Hinds Community College and work toward completing your high school equivalency diploma.”

GED recipients who were honored Thursday and their stated hometowns included:

  • Jerry Bacon, of Jackson
  • Ashley Baker, of Vicksburg
  • Brianna Brooks, of Terry
  • Brittany Bullock, of Ridgeland
  • Ashley Clark, of Vicksburg
  • Susan Brown, of Edwards
  • Donna Jad’D Crooks, of Vicksburg
  • James Cuyler, of Terry
  • Felix Davis, of Jackson
  • Hope Davis, of Jackson
  • Alicia Dixon, of Vicksburg
  • Baylee Garrett, of Brandon
  • I’Esha Granderson, of Jackson
  • Heather Harrington, of Clinton
  • Kaitlyn Hudson, of Bolton
  • Ronald Humes, of Vicksburg
  • Kylil Killian, of Vicksburg
  • Carl Landry, of Clinton
  • Joshua Martin, of Clinton
  • Cameron McClain, of Vicksburg
  • Patrick McClure, of Jackson
  • Autumn McIntosh, of Raymond
  • Shelia McLaurin, of Hermanville
  • Gerald McQuarter, of Byram
  • Amanda Miller, of Vicksburg
  • Destanie Miller, of Terry
  • Napoleon Miller, of Jackson
  • Tyeisha Nelson, of Jackson
  • Shanea Parker, of Vicksburg
  • Brendon S. Rodgers, of Vicksburg
  • Kendall Robinson, of Byram
  • Moeisha Shields, of Jackson
  • Jayshaun Simmons, of Jackson
  • Ashlyn Smith, of Pearl
  • Precious Tucker, of Bolton
  • Allen W. Warner, of Vicksburg
  • Marissa A. Williams, of Vicksburg

Fifteen of the 37 recipients present, including Granderson, were Honor Students, awarded scholarship funds, or both. Granderson received a $500 cash award from the Education Pays Program. The program began in 2009 as a partnership between Hinds and the Craig H. Neilsen Foundation to make funds available for all Hinds CC Warren GED recipients over the age of 21. The foundation has expanded the program to the Jackson Campus-Academic/Technical Center.

Scholarship funds were also made available to this year’s GED recipients by Central Mississippi Planning and Development District and the Adult Education Advisory Council.

From left, Ashley Clark, Ronald Humes and Allen W. Warner share a smile before a ceremony June 23 at Cain-Cochran Hall on Hinds Community College's Raymond Campus recognizing those who have earned their GED certificate in the recent academic term. (Tammi Bowles/Hinds Community College)

From left, Ashley Clark, Ronald Humes and Allen W. Warner share a smile before a ceremony June 23 at Cain-Cochran Hall on Hinds Community College’s Raymond Campus recognizing those who have earned their GED certificate in the recent academic term. (Tammi Bowles/Hinds Community College)

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Vicksburg MI-BEST student shows the way to success with GED
Posted by
26 April

Vicksburg MI-BEST student shows the way to success with GED

Celebrating with MI-BEST student Allen Warner, center, are, from left, Hinds Community College Vicksburg Dean Marvin Moak, Warren County Supervisor Charles Selmon, CMPDD administrator Charles McGuffee and Hinds Vicksburg Adult Education and GED navigator Lauren Powers.

Celebrating with MI-BEST student Allen Warner, center, are, from left, Hinds Community College Vicksburg Dean Marvin Moak, Warren County Supervisor Charles Selmon, CMPDD administrator Charles McGuffee and Hinds Vicksburg Adult Education and GED navigator Lauren Powers.

A 35-year-old student at the Vicksburg-Warren Campus has become the first Hinds Community College MI-BEST student to receive his GED while climbing to the halfway mark in his plight to receive a college career certificate.

“Finally, I have no plans but succeeding in school,” said Allen Warner, who quit high school in Saginaw, Mich., nearly two decades ago.

“There just wasn’t anything in high school that interested me, so I just didn’t do what I needed to do,” Warner said. “By the time I realized there was a program that might help me, a technical skills program, it was too late. I had messed up, and it was too late, so I just quit.”

That quitter attitude cannot be found today in the father of two girls, ages 7 and 8, and he says it will not come back, even after he finally gets “the piece of paper” that shows he’s qualified to seek and hold his dream career.

“Oh, I spent time as a dishwasher, a cook’s helper, roofer, I did some water-well drilling, I did some landscaping and some carpentry,” he said. “I was the jack of all trades and the master of none.”

“I could tell you I had done all those things, but I had no proof – no certificate,” he said. “Soon I’ll have that certificate.”

Warner said the turning point in his choices came when he was turned down for a job because he did not have his GED, or General Education Development high school equivalency certificate, and he did not want his little girls to graduate before he did.

He enrolled in the Hinds GED program during the spring semester, passing the qualifications for and fitting the criteria to have his tuition and fees paid through a grant from the Central Mississippi Planning and Development District (CMPDD). The grant was extended to MI-BEST, which stands for Mississippi Integrated-Basic Education Skills Training, last year for the current fiscal year.

Lauren Powers, Vicksburg Hinds’ navigator for the MI-BEST program and Adult Basic Education, said Warner is a prime example of what the MI-BEST and the CMPDD grant can do for other students.

A career fair for the 25 students currently enrolled in MI-BEST will be May 10 on the Vicksburg campus, Powers said. They will be given the chance to speak with representatives of local industries and possibly be interviewed for current or upcoming job openings.”

“We’re hoping the students will have the opportunity to meet these people and focus on seeking specific careers, and maybe even have a chance to be offered jobs,” she said.

The MI-BEST program gives high school dropouts opportunity to complete their GED coursework while pursuing their initial career certificates, which require 30 hours of college credits.

At the end of the current semester, next month, Warner will be halfway through his college course load to receive his career certificate in welding.

“And he has done it with a 4.0,” Powers is quick to point out.

Warner’s goal is to find a welding job that allows him a career in which he can earn a sustainable wage. He said he has not decided if he will seek the additional 15 hours of college credit to receive his technical certificate or the 15 more for his associate’s degree, “because it all depends on jobs and opportunities.”

Warren County Supervisor Charles Selmon is the workforce development Chairman on the CMPDD Board and invited Warner to address a meeting of the South Central Workforce Development Group at Hinds Vicksburg at the board’s next meeting.

Selmon said the program is allowing students such as Warner to not only get a GED, but also be trained in a specific trade that makes them marketable and ready when a new industry decides to come to Mississippi.

“I’m so excited about this young man,” Selmon said. “He is the model story, a person with a great attitude who is able to communicate with people and, best of all, he’s so humble.”

“He just got tired of being sick and tired and decided to do something about it,” Selmon said. “He is an inspiration to me. He motivates me.”

Selmon explained that workforce development programs in the state are funded through a $5 million federal fund that is facilitated by the state.

“We’re trying to increase the ready workforce in the state,” the supervisor said. “Hinds is doing a great job of helping these people get their GEDs and then training them to go to work. That helps the state attract more businesses.”

For more information on MI-BEST, see the website or contact Powers at 601.629.6873 or lauren.powers@hindscc.edu.

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Hinds CC Vicksburg students complete food certification
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17 December

Hinds CC Vicksburg students complete food certification

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Hinds Community College Vicksburg-Warren Campus MI-BEST culinary students recently received their Food Handler Certification.

They are, seated from left, Pamela Brown, Abby Keller, Tiara McDaniel and Laurie Hampton; standing, proctor Roderick Hollins, Vicksburg Assistant Dean Dr. Elmira Ratliff, Brandy Greenwood, Jamesia Sanders, Alfred Brown and culinary instructor Tim DeRossette. Not pictured is culinary instructor Matthew Campbell.

MI-BEST, Mississippi Integrated Basic Education Skills Training, helps students without high school diplomas learn GED skills and job skills in specific areas. MI-BEST launched at Hinds Community College in spring 2015.

As Mississippi’s largest community college, Hinds Community College is a comprehensive institution offering quality, affordable educational opportunities with more than 170 academic, career and technical programs. With six locations in central Mississippi, Hinds enrolled nearly 12,000 credit students in fall 2014. To learn more, visit www.hindscc.edu or call 1.800.HindsCC.

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Stability from Hinds CC’s MI-BEST program helps turn dropout’s life around
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14 December

Stability from Hinds CC’s MI-BEST program helps turn dropout’s life around

Sam Rodgers is no stranger to taking care of himself.

He grew up in foster care and scrapped to make something out of his middle school years.

“I bounced around from shelter to shelter, stayed on the street a little bit,” said Rodgers, 34, of Jackson. “I tried to do my best in school, but I had to quit to take care of myself.”

Sam Rodgers, a student in the MI-BEST program at Hinds Community College, is taking culinary classes and recently landed a job at Hal & Mal's in Jackson. (April Garon/Hinds Community College)

Sam Rodgers, a student in the MI-BEST program at Hinds Community College, is taking culinary classes and recently landed a job at Hal & Mal’s in Jackson. (April Garon/Hinds Community College)

He worked in fast food, then as a construction worker for 14 years where he made decent money. “I did everything you can possibly think of in the construction business.” But that job went away, and the lack of a high school diploma and skills beyond the work yard threatened to put him back in dire straits.

“I thought, ‘Well, Sam, you’re back where you started,’ ” he said.

He looked into the comprehensive adult education program at Hinds Community College, and, unlike past ups and downs in life, it’s been all the help he’s needed.

“My fiancé and New Horizons Church told me about an event for MI-BEST at the medical mall in Jackson,” Rodgers said. “They said it would help you get finish school and get a GED.”

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.

The structure means having teachers for both academics and career-tech skills in the classroom simultaneously for about 25 to 50 percent of the time, said Dr. Robin Parker, district director of Integrated Pathways at Hinds.

“We have to modify our instruction and do something different in the classroom in order to help our students be successful,” Parker said. “One teacher is an academic teacher helping students prepare for their GED and career readiness certificate, and then another is a career skills instructor who helps prepare them for nationally-recognized industry certificates.

“So, our students are leaving with college credit and their GED, and a portfolio of credentials industry has endorsed.”

Industries have recruited students to the program, which Parker ensures interviews for jobs that can pay double-digit hourly wages right away.

Program staff called navigators help students find solutions with things such as transportation, child care and financial aid.

“Navigators see program students daily,” Parker said. “They work with our community partners to remove any kind of barrier that prevents the student from focusing on their classroom instruction.”

Rodgers’ experience in the working world got him through the necessary career-readiness and other qualifying tests. His entry onto a college campus for the first time in November keeps “blowing him away,” he said.

Rodgers will be trading his hard hat for a chef hat when he enters Hinds’ Culinary Arts Technology program in January. He wants to take the skills and expertise he’ll learn in the kitchen and bring it back to the inner city, where he says fine dining experiences are rare.

“I want to start my own business and have it where it’s white tablecloths and beautiful scenery,” Rodgers said. “It’ll give people something different besides fast-food restaurants.”

His here-and-now is looking good, too. Rodgers recently landed a job at Jackson’s Hal and Mal’s as an entry-level chef.

“Food is just awesome, always been a passion and one of my dreams,” he said. “You can be in a bad mood, but then eat a delicious dinner and it just changes your whole attitude.”

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Hinds CC MI-BEST program puts Vicksburg student on path to culinary dream
Posted by
02 December

Hinds CC MI-BEST program puts Vicksburg student on path to culinary dream

Brandy Greenwood really hasn’t stopped working in recent years, despite not having a paying job or a high school diploma.

“I quit going to school in the 11th grade because I got pregnant with my two oldest kids,” Greenwood said. “I was in the band and ROTC in high school, so I wasn’t ever weak in any subjects. I tried five times to pass the GED, but life got in the way.”

Brandy Greenwood practices culinary knife skills as part of classes she takes at Hinds Community College Vicksburg-Warren Campus. Greenwood is a student in the MI-BEST program, which provides a high school equivalency certificate and job training at the same time. (April Garon/Hinds Community College)

Brandy Greenwood practices culinary knife skills as part of classes she takes at Hinds Community College Vicksburg-Warren Campus. Greenwood is a student in the MI-BEST program, which provides a high school equivalency certificate and job training at the same time. (April Garon/Hinds Community College)

Greenwood, a Shreveport, La., native, moved to Mississippi in 1999 as a 20-year-old single mother when her own mother’s job moved to Jackson. A decade of transience reached an apparent low point when she moved into a shelter for homeless women in Vicksburg with her four children. She lived in the shelter a year and a half, eventually doing odd jobs for the facility’s operators.

“I was a house monitor, the cook, the driver, did all kinds of errands,” she said. Once she moved into more permanent housing in 2013, her thoughts shifted to bettering her station in life. “I needed to get myself together and find something to do. When I was at the shelter, I did so many things, including cooking.”

Another go-round this past year at securing a high school diploma through Hinds Community College was a payoff, thanks to a handful of people who work with students in the enhanced adult education program to handle issues of transportation, child care, financial aid and more.

“Ms. Lauren Powers said someone suggested me for the MI-BEST program after I took a test to enter the GED program to see how much I remembered. When I asked what trades I could take, she said culinary was one of them. I said, ‘I’m in there! I’ll take it.’”

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.

“Brandy has really overcome a lot of adversity throughout her life,” said Powers, who works as a navigator in the program that helps students with things such as transportation, child care and financial aid. That way, the students keep their total focus on academics. “The MI-BEST program at Hinds CC in Vicksburg was the perfect program to help get the ball moving in the right direction for Brandy. Part of my role as the MI-BEST navigator is to provide a wraparound of student services from support, guidance and counseling in both academics as well as with everyday life to serving as a listening board and being a cheerleader for the students.

“She is dedicated and motivated to reaching her goals, and I couldn’t be more proud of her efforts in the MI-BEST program. I can’t wait to see what the future holds for her – I just know it is going to be bright!”

Greenwood began classes in June and passed all tests on the first try. Now she attends classes twice a week, nine hours a day. In her culinary classes, she has learned the finer points of slicing cheese and proper techniques of cutting fruit. Of her core academic classes, math remains “a challenge.” She hopes to take the GED test by the end of November.

“It’s been 20 years since I’ve been in school, and for me to be doing this well I know this is my year,” she said. “It’s time for me to do my part. I’ll be the first child of my mother to walk in a cap and gown.”

“It’s helped me find myself,” she said. “I have the strength, courage and knowledge to do what I have to do. I’m challenged every day in class for something, whether it’s in Mr. (Tim) DeRossette’s class or in math class. I hope this shows my children that you’re never too old to finish school.”

And she’s also thinking big beyond her long-awaited graduation. She wants to draw upon a cooking heritage to bring the dining world’s hottest trend to Vicksburg.

“Cooking is a dream of mine,” she said. “My mom and my grandmother, who is a retired school cafeteria worker, were my mentors. My mother worked for a bank for 45 years, then got her cake decoration license, so she can decorate pastries and things like that.”

“Most definitely, I’d want to do a food truck because we don’t have one here in Vicksburg,” she said. “I know I want it to be good food, but healthy and not always fried.”

Her husband, Randy, laid flooring for a living for 15 years, but is now disabled. Still, Brandy feels she already has her future business partner right there in the kitchen.

“We make this coconut chicken that is awesome,” she said. “He’d make a good sous chef for me.”

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Hinds CC MI-BEST training offers both job, academic training
Posted by
02 December

Hinds CC MI-BEST training offers both job, academic training

Phillip Wallace had something of a clue from an early age about how best to achieve his goals.

He just didn’t appreciate the lesson for a while.

Phillip Wallace

Phillip Wallace

“When I was 12 or 13, I remember my mom putting me to work when I wanted $10 to go to the store to buy something,” Wallace said. “She said, ‘Well, there’s a lawnmower, a weed eater and some gas.’ That’s what started me off cutting grass and trimming bushes.”

Wallace, 24, of Jackson, is now enrolled in Hinds Community College’s MI-BEST program, 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.

But before getting involved in the Hinds program, Wallace’s life was derailed by a 2 ½-year stint in the prison system, a phase of life he chalks up to environment.

“It was a rocky teen life,” he said, adding a scheduling error in high school caused him to miss out on his senior year. “Highest grade was the 11th grade.”

Homelessness and bad decisions put Wallace on the street, then in jail. “Basically, it happened from hanging with the wrong crowd,” he said. “I got in trouble with the law, but I’ve learned a real good lesson from being incarcerated.

“I got tired of the street life, smoking marijuana and hanging around the same old crowd and negative influences, period.”

Now three years into a four-year probation sentence, Wallace is ready to learn in the classroom and in life.

“I have goals set for myself now,” he said. “The only way to achieve those goals is to get back in school.”

Aleisha Coins, one of six “navigators” in the program that help students with things such as transportation, child care and financial aid, met Wallace during orientation period for the program.

“Phillip has overcome several challenges in order to get to this point and he is aware of everything that he needs to do to become successful,” Coins said. “I am confident that he will become an outstanding working citizen.”

Wallace is taking academic courses four days a week at the Raymond Campus and is interested in construction-related career-tech programs. But his experience working heavy equipment with a landscaping firm earlier in his probation rekindled a love for all things earthy.

“I would really love to work with landscaping and with planting things to make things look better,” Wallace said. “It’s my playing field. And I’d love to help make Jackson look better. I love my city, but I just don’t like the way it looks. I want to make sure my home town looks decent, not with grass and vines everywhere.”

He’s also had helping hand-up from the Hinds Community College Foundation, which responded to Wallace’s need for stable housing by awarding him the Fountain Family scholarship. It’s paying for living space on campus and his meal ticket for the remainder of this semester.

“Phillip applied for a Foundation scholarship to cover room and board expenses, and was graciously awarded that scholarship based on financial need,” Coins said, adding an exceptional interview for an Individual Training Account Scholarship through the Workforce Investment Act helped him land funds to cover tuition, books and fees.

Each Hinds MI-BEST student is “adopted” by a community partner that helps students with needed support services.

Wallace’s community sponsor is Jackson-based Stewpot Community Services, which sent sack lunches and helped organize his transportation to class until the scholarship came through. The group worked with Working Together Jackson, a larger community initiative, to get involved in Wallace’s story as he got his life back in order.

“There are so many people like Phillip who need a program like MI-BEST to be able to get jobs that pay livable wages and have a career path,” said Heather Ivery, business administrator for Stewpot. “We are excited to be working with Hinds CC and Working Together Jackson to provide the community support these students need.”

“Philip Wallace is an example of a young man who is willing to take advantage of a second chance when it is given,” said Perry Perkins Jr., lead organizer for Working Together Jackson. “That is what the partnership between Working Together Jackson, its members, the City of Jackson and Hinds Community College is doing­—creating for Philip and others a pathway out of poverty.”

Wallace said being in a healthy learning environment the program affords its students has made all the difference.

“It’s been a learning experience, but it depends on what you want to learn from it and better yourself. You can learn from your mistakes, but only if you choose to.”

Registration in the program for the spring semester is 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Dec. 16 and Jan. 4 at the Raymond Campus. To reserve a spot, go to http://hub.hindscc.edu/mibest or email Angela.Hayes@hindscc.edu. Scholarships are available for students who qualify.

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