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BY JOSH PRESLEY
East Mississippi Community College is running day and night classes to prepare residents in the region to work at the new Yokohama Tire plant.
Yokohama is going to need 500 employees for the new tire plant, for which the state is responsible to provide as per a memorandum of understanding with the company. Should that agreement not be honored, the state will be held to an undisclosed monetary penalty.
Mississippi has charged EMCC to administer all the plant's pre-employment training.
EMCC Workforce Director Raj Shanauk said Yokohama requires a silver-level Career Readiness Certificate (CRC), as well as basic manufacturing skills from applicants.
To receive a CRC, an individual must take the WorkKeys test, a three-part, computer-based test consisting of reading for information, applied math and locating information. Individuals can earn four levels of CRC based on their test performance â€“ bronze, silver, gold and platinum.
Shanauk said EMCC will work with those individuals who don't achieve at least a silver level, so they can go through basic skills training and retake the test.
About 150 people have completed or are in the process of completing their career readiness certificate, according to Shanauk, and the classes have roughly a 65 percent pass rate.
"After they complete their CRC, the individual goes through customized pre-employment training for Yokohama," Shanauk said. "The same skills we teach in our programs are required of almost all entry-level jobs in manufacturing in the region."
Shanauk said that EMCC expects to be able to easily fill all 500 positions.
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