POPLARVILLE – Pearl River Community College’s long-range plan is to build a new college in Hancock County in an effort to offer higher education opportunities that would aid local industry as well as the coastal workforce.
That goal received a $2.5 million boost this week when the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality announced that PRCC was one of the 19 new projects that will benefit from BP and Deepwater Horizon oil spill money.
"It has been a goal of Pearl River Community College for several years to establish a permanent campus location in Hancock County" said PRCC President Dr. Adam Breerwood. "This campus would focus on providing job skills training, workforce development initiatives and higher education opportunities. There is no greater catalyst for economic development than a skilled and educated workforce. Pearl River is committed to providing such opportunities. Hancock County has exceptional leadership and the support for this project has been overwhelming."
According to the announcement, the $2.5 million would be used “to enhance workforce training in Hancock County by establishing a workforce development center focused on existing and future industry needs.”
"Geographically Hancock County is positioned in an ideal location to attract business and industry from around the world,” said Breerwood “This initial investment for construction of a workforce development center is the first step in securing the required job skills for those recruitment opportunities. The center will focus on preparing students for current industry needs and jobs created in the future. We are grateful to Gov. Bryant for the confidence he has placed in our College with this announcement.”
Hancock County is one of six counties served by Pearl River Community College. PRCC currently operates a Hancock Center on Highway 90 in Waveland, which is a major attraction for Hancock County students as they begin their higher education careers.
PRCC Vice President for Economic and Community Development Dr. Scott Alsobrooks said that the faculty and staff are maximizing the college’s job creation potential by offering educational programs in high demand occupations.
“This is a national trend and Pearl River is on the forefront of this concept, which is bolstered on the national stage by data from Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce indicating that a majority of the jobs for the future will require degrees and training commonly offered at the community (college) level,” he said.