Crosby Hall

Friday, September 17, 2021

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September 17, 2021 - 2:04pm
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Hurricane Ida’s arrival on the 16th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina evoked a string of unpleasant memories for residents of South Mississippi and Southeast Louisiana. While most in Pearl River Community College's region were not directly affected this time, many felt called to help our neighbors in southern Louisiana. 

Collections began at the first home football game earlier this month with a call to the community to join PRCC in their efforts to provide relief to those affected.  

One of the first contributions was disposable diapers from a family who had a baby when Katrina hit. They remembered how grateful they were for those diapers and wanted to return the favor. 

“The response of our faculty, staff and students to provide assistance to those affected by Hurricane Ida was overwhelming,” said Pearl River President Dr. Adam Breerwood. “We often talk about working daily to not only provide a premier education but to build better mothers, fathers, sons and daughters for the future. Our ultimate goal is to build better local communities. Within days of requesting support for these victims, we had truckloads of supplies and monetary donations for assistance.  

“These blessings were not only from members of our college family but from members who reside throughout our service district.” 

The recent relief effort by PRCC brought collected items to residents of Thibodaux, Louisiana, and the surrounding communities on Sunday, Sept. 14. Members of the faculty, staff and student body made the trip. 

Thanks to generous donors, key items like toiletries, nonperishable food, and water were brought to the area. A total of eight pallets of supplies were loaded onto trailers for the journey.  

More than $4,000 in donations were collected by the PRCC Foundation. Some of those funds enabled the serving of meals to more than 700 individuals. All were appreciative of a hot meal that was ready to enjoy. 

“We are living in challenging times, but members of our faculty, staff and student body pushed those obstacles aside and headed to South Louisiana to provide assistance to those in need,” said Breerwood. 

PRCC student and softball player Makiya Hunter from Jackson was one of several students who made the trip to help. 

“I am grateful that Coach (Christie) Meeks gave me and my teammates the opportunity to go and help,” said Hunter. “I enjoyed helping prepare and serve the local community. I would be happy to volunteer my time again.” 

“I was most impressed with the kindness and generosity of our students who provided hugs of support and compassion,” said Breerwood. “I heard on numerous occasions our students provide one simple response to those victims who spoke works of gratitude and appreciation: ‘We are Happy to Help’.” 

HELP IS ONGOING 

PRCC’s Hurricane Ida relief efforts are continuing with a new round of collections to end at the football game on Thursday, Sept. 23 in Poplarville. Donations can be dropped off at all Wildcat Den campus locations. A delivery to Southeastern University is in the works for next weekend.

For the latest news on Pearl River Community College, visit PRCC.edu and follow us on Twitter (@PRCC_Wildcats), Instagram (PRCCWILDCATS), and Facebook (@PRCCMKTG). 

Top Row (Left to Right): Janna Paterson, Promise Shanks, Taelor York, Aunie Rethmeyer, Makiya Hunter, Hannah Sparks, Sonya Hunt, Brad Ladner, Scotty Fletcher, Blaise Breerwood 
Bottom Row (Left to Right): Cassidy Cartwright, Lonnie Burchell, Adam Breerwood, Shana Breerwood, Craig Tynes, Jeff Long. 

 
September 17, 2021 - 4:11pm
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Pearl River Community College is seeing growth within the Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs spread across its three campuses. Along with that growth, they have brought on board two new deans to help set a vision for the future. 

CTE programs are ones that specialize in skilled trades, applied sciences, modern technologies, and career preparation. Some of the programs at PRCC have students earning an associate degree while others are shorter certificate programs. 

NEW DEAN FOR POPLARVILLE CAMPUS 

Dr. Amy Townsend was appointed as Dean of Career & Technical Education for Poplarville and Hancock Campuses in July 2021. She brought with her 20 years of experience in higher education, most recently as Associate Vice President of Student Success. 

“While academics and CTE differ in many ways, both areas seek to help students reach their goals and support them with every resource available, and student success has been my focus for the last 10 years,” said Townsend.  

This fall semester saw most of the programs in Poplarville reach full capacity with a few going beyond the normal cap. Now, a primary focus is on the retention of students.  

“Broadly speaking, my initial goals are to build community with my faculty/staff and across campuses; work with CTE leadership across campuses to rebrand our department and create a fresh marketing campaign for our programs; build relationships with our local workforce area partners to understand industry needs; and implement strategies to increase enrollment and graduation rates with our existing and future programs,” she said. “Our new slogan is ‘Career Tech Works,’ and this is being demonstrated by our CTE team as we are already making headway on several of these goals.” 

FROM CTE STUDENT TO DEAN 

In September 2020, Dr. James David Collum assumed the role of Dean for PRCC’s Forrest County Campus. His academic career began as a CTE student in electronics engineering technology. Since joining PRCC as an electronics instructor in 2009, Collum has earned both a Master's degree in Career and Technical Education and a Ph.D. in Higher Education Administration. From 2017-2020, Collum served as Career Education Chair. 

“Career and Technical Education has long been a passion of mine, and I am fortunate to have the opportunity to work with a fantastic team of instructors and administrators,” said Collum. “Building relationships and bringing all the stakeholders together to meet common goals is how we can help build more robust CTE programs that serve our local communities.  

“I look forward to working with Dr. Townsend to meet these goals and increase opportunities for our students and local businesses.” 

EXPANSION AT FORREST COUNTY CAMPUS 

The Forrest County Campus has added several programs this year including Commercial and Residential Construction, Massage Therapy, Coding Technology, Court Reporting, and an LPN to RN bridge program.  

Additionally, they expanded two medical programs to meet the needs of the local economy. CARES ACT funds allowed for the addition of a new simulation lab for allied health programs. This allows the programs to integrate together in simulated experiences to prepare for the healthcare setting.  

“Prior to implementation of this amazing technology, a student’s first encounter in this setting may have been in a clinical setting with actual patients,” said PRCC Vice President for Forrest County Center, Allied Health and Nursing Dr. Jana Causey. “Now we are able to prepare and train them in a low stake learning environment. We are so thankful to have this opportunity for our students and our honored to have the privilege to educate these up-and-coming professionals.” 

A BRIGHT FUTURE AT HANCOCK CAMPUS 

In the recent past, PRCC’s Hancock Campus has added several new CTE programs and certifications including welding, practical nursing, unmanned systems (aerial and maritime), court reporting, and coding technology.  

Additionally, the Aviation and Aerospace Workforce Academy Hangar project is moving forward with advertisement of bids currently underway. When completed, the campus will see more educational pathways added. 

“This curriculum expansion offers students the opportunity to receive an excellent education bolstered by quality certifications,” said Dr. Jennifer Seal, Vice President for Hancock Campus. “These programs prepare students to secure, not simply jobs, but careers.” 

List of all Career Tech Programs at PRCC as of July 2021

VARIETY OF CTE PROGRAMS 

Students interested in pursuing a CTE pathway have a wide range of options available. 

Applying for admission to PRCC is the first step. prcc.edu/admissions  

Questions about the programs can be directed to the CTE office of the campus where they will attend. For PRCC’s Forrest County Campus, call 601-554-5539, email jcollum@prcc.edu or visit the FCC on U.S. 49 South. Hancock Campus can be reached at 228-252-7000. The Poplarville Campus can be reached at 601-403-1101. 

For the latest news on Pearl River Community College, visit PRCC.edu and follow us on Twitter (@PRCC_Wildcats), Instagram (PRCCWILDCATS), and Facebook (@PRCCMKTG). 

 
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