Mississippi’s community college’s MIBEST (Mississippi Integrated Basic Education and Skills Training) initiative was selected as one of four finalists from across the nation, for the 2017 College/Corporate Partnership Award of Excellence by the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC).
The winner of the award will be announced at the 97th Annual Meeting in New Orleans on April 24, 2017.
The MIBEST initiative combines high school equivalency preparation, for-credit skills training, and industry-based credentials with intensive support in a simultaneous program that accelerates credential attainment and employment in good-paying careers. Already, 1,200 students are enrolled in around 60 career pathway programs.
The programs range from industrial maintenance to business office technology.
“MIBEST helps transform high school drop-outs into skilled and productive workers who can better care for their families and contribute to our state’s economy,” said Mr. Kenneth Wheatley, MIBEST Program Director for the Mississippi Community College Board.
Businesses partner with MIBEST and 15 community and junior colleges to collaborate on ways to get people involved in a skill based work environment.
According to the Mississippi Works website there are close to 40,000 jobs available in the state that are unfilled because of a lack of skilled working-age Mississippians. Mississippi has the second lowest workforce participation rate, at just 57 percent. MIBEST helps to lessen that gap.
The program has collaborations with state agencies like the Governor’s office and the Mississippi Department of Employment Security.
“The program provides an opportunity for these individuals to earn workforce and community college credentials and a career pathway to a middle-skill occupation where there is a labor demand. MIBEST sets program participants on the path to good wages and career advancement,” said Gov. Phil Bryant.
The program is made up of a dedicated team with a heart to help students find their way through a maze of college admissions, program selections, and life challenges that could threaten a furthered education.