JCJC expands its services in Jasper County with new center

Written By: Teresa Martin
Email Address: teresa.martin@jcjc.edu
Date Submitted: 2011-07-29 09:06:29

ELLISVILLE – Jones County Junior College and the Jasper County Supervisors have laid the foundation to meet the growing demand for higher education in the county. Now a new path has been cleared for more educational and economic opportunities for Jasper County’s citizens to thrive at home with the announcement of an expansion of the JCJC Jasper County Center. A ground breaking ceremony was held Tuesday before an audience of business and community leaders who are ready to move the county forward.
“This is a win-win situation for us,” said Johnny Rowell, President of the Jasper County Supervisor’s Board. “Jones was ready, willing, and able to step in and help us move in the direction we need to go. We want successful and productive citizens, and we are making that possible right here. We are putting our money where our mouth is.”
When JCJC first opened its off-campus center in Bay Springs in January 2008, administrators were optimistic about fulfilling a need expressed by its residents in Jasper County. Three years later, with an 18 percent increase in enrollment in the first year, supervisors and college officials knew it was time to expand its services.
“The Center for Excellence in Machining will be expanding to the Jasper County Center,” said Dr. Jesse Smith, President of JCJC. “A petroleum lab and workforce training program will also be in this new center.”
Adding these career and technical programs is a perfect fit because it reflects the economic landscape of the county’s rich heritage in the oil and machining industries. Jack Bryan, Hol-mac Corporation’s Human Resource Director has utilized the Jasper County Center currently located downtown for training the company’s employees. 
“The Jasper County Learning Center is the catalyst for Hol-Mac Corporation’s employee training. The center allows us to customize curriculums to industrial applications. Through the guidance of JCJC personnel, our company instructors effectively present material to the trainee. We take programs such as MS Office Excel 2007 and Technical Mathematics and adapt it to Hol-Mac’s manufacturing processes. The key factor in this relationship is adaptability,” said Bryan.
The new approximately 18,000 square foot center will continue to offer college courses, as well as non-credit classes. Additionally, the Economic Development and Chamber of Commerce will have offices in the facility.
Jasper County Economic Development Director and state senator, Haskins Montgomery shared how having the workforce development and training programs and Jasper County’s economic development offices under one roof is a positive sign for the future of the county.
“I’ve watched the workforce change in our area,” said Montgomery. “Today, we need a higher educated and well-trained workforce to compete in today’s global economy. You have to have a marketable skill that can allow you to be productive in the workforce. We are fortunate to be in Jones’ district. I am confident the people at JCJC will do their part to make this center successful.”
As Dr. Smith noted to the large gathering of supporters and friends of the college at the ground breaking, “The fastest way to increase economic development is to increase the number of college graduates. Jasper County recognizes this and has helped to ensure its citizens have access to a higher education with the tuition guarantee program and the financial support for an outreach center here.”
The new Jasper County Center will be constructed on an eight-acre site in two phases. The machine and petroleum labs, classrooms and instructional area should be completed within 18-months. The second phase of the project includes the construction of an assembly area. Total building expenses are estimated at $2.1 million.  
State representative Johnny Stringer put the JCJC Center expansion project in perspective for the county and business leaders. “It will be significant and lasting. It’s like another industry locating here,” said Stringer, referring to the new JCJC Center. “When prospective industries come to Jasper County, they will see this facility as a place to train their workforce. It will give our community benefits for years to come.”
For more information and class schedules at the Jasper County Center, call 601-764-9393.


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