What a busy semester it’s turning out to be for East Mississippi Community College’s West Point Center where more and more natives of Clay County are coming out to take advantage of the programs it offers.
One of those programs, Counseling 2 Career, caters solely to 18 to 21 year olds by instructing participants how to conduct themselves at a workplace, how to work well with others, how to write resumes and how to effectively interact with customers in a positive manner. Counseling 2 Career (C2C) also teaches participants organizational skills, computer skills and basic workplace skills.
C2C Program Instructor Sha’Carla Petty said the program began last July on the Mayhew campus of EMCC but since so many Clay County residents expressed an interest in the program EMCC officials thought it best to begin offering the program on the West Point campus as well.
Currently there are about 10 participants taking the four-week employment training class, and upon completion of the class each student will receive a 236 hour paid internship with various businesses around West Point. Some of the local places students will get to put their new skills to the test are Prestage Farms, Sprint Mart, Creative Cosmetology and Barber College, Dirt Cheap and the Clay County Courthouse. Petty said these jobs have the potential of becoming permanent for some C2C participants depending on that particular employer’s needs.
“And if something eventually comes up within that company they’ll call us, call the person back and say, ‘Hey, we do have something. We’d like for you to come in to work,’” Petty said. “Most times just doing the internship and doing a good job gives the students more confidence that they’ll be able to find something. Even in this class I tell them to continue to put in applications and send out your resumes because you never know what could come up.”
C2C participant Jamell Davis said one of his motives for taking the course is to land a great paying, hands-on job and to help his mother out with the bills. He said instead of searching for a job right after receiving his GED he wanted to first go into the C2C program to get the job training he needed that would provide him a better chance at finding a good job once he’s completed EMCC.
Cortez Hunter of Clay County said he signed on for the class to enhance the job skills he already has and to help him land a great job as well. Hunter recognizes that companies today require at least basic educational skills that can be obtained right on the EMCC-West Point campus.
“The most important skill is reading and the basic education because most jobs won’t even hire you if you don’t have a diploma or GED – even at a restaurant,” Hunter said.
Hunter received his GED in 2009 from Itawamba Community College and after completing the C2C class and internship he plans to find a job doing welding or carpentry work.
The C2C class at the West Point campus will be complete March 20, and the next class will likely be held on the Mayhew campus until officials schedule the second C2C class for West Point. Those interested in taking the C2C course must be 18 to 21 years old and must reside in Clay, Lowndes or Noxubee counties. Petty said program acceptance is also based on income and most people who have applied have met all the criteria.