Not many college students are chosen for employment by a Fortune 500 company that requires security clearance, finger prints and background checks before completing college, but Hinds Community College Utica Campus student Daffany Collins was.

She credits her business office technology instructor, Shirley Riggs, for assisting her to this stage.

Recruiters at Lockheed Martin Company, specializing in global security and aerospace, found what they were looking for in the 22-year-old Hinds student during their recent visit to the Raymond Campus.

“We do a lot of customer service, and college students are perfect for these positions,” said Debbie White, operations manager for Lockheed Martin. “Students that have studied business administration or similar subjects can oftentimes use those skill sets in this job. The way we see it is, Hinds has prepared the students with the basics they need to get a job, and we can teach them the rest.”

White says that the entry level positions are great stepping stones to more advanced, permanent careers.

“I was elated to receive a call from Lockheed Martin,” Collins said. “All I wanted was an opportunity to get in the door; I am determined to work my way up from here.

“Because I am still in school, Lockheed allowed me to set my own schedule. I realize what a blessing I have been given and do not take it lightly,” she said. “I have my eyes fixed on moving to the top of the ladder because I don’t mind working, and I take every opportunity to learn all that I can.”

Collins began employment with Lockheed Martin the last of January as a customer representative. Her job entails gathering personal information from individuals whose jobs require access to secure areas of port facilities regulated with the Transportation Act of 2002. All information must be kept strictly confidential, including the location of her employment site, due to the sensitive information that she handles.

Of the 16 BOT students who applied for employment with Lockheed Martin, only two were chosen for employment, said Iyanna L. Colly, Hinds Community College Career Services Center coordinator.

“Corporate America is still looking for people who are trained in management skills and know how to handle an office as well as work with others,” Riggs said. “Our students come to school simulating employment. They are conscious of their behavior, work ethics, and professionalism daily. Therefore, when the opportunity arises, my students are prepared to meet the challenge.”

Collins is a sophomore honor student and is president of Phi Beta Lambda, the organization for business and office technology majors.

Collins resides in Hazlehurst with her four-year-old daughter, Carmen.

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