(Submitted by Petrecia Williams, MI-BEST coordinator)
MI-BEST, Integrated Essential Skills Training, has been in effect since spring 2016. Qualifying students earn their High School Equivalency (HSE) while earning 15 hours of college credit plus four to seven certifications recognized and valued by local employers in one semester for free.
The college and community outreach within the Northwest Mississippi Community College district has been much greater than ever expected. The MI-BEST support system across the Senatobia campus grows on a daily basis. The Workforce and Career Tech Divisions, the Business Office, Financial Aid, Bookstore, Registrar, Student Support, WIOA, and C2C all work together to remove hindrances that might knock the students off their road to success.
The Adult Basic Education (ABE) instructors with whom MI-BEST works hand-in-hand keep our students focused on set goals, and Career-Tech instructors help students master skills through hands-on instruction.
“Also, the community has skin in the game. Many have become involved in the MI-BEST effort. People are meeting the needs of the student. Whether it is childcare facilities accepting children at a moment’s notice, optometrists donating eye exams and glasses, a local bank instructing students in tips on wise financial choices, the doctor’s office making sure that the MI-BEST students receive necessary assistance, community churches purchasing shoes and clothes for graduation ceremonies and helping with payment of various essentials, or even towing services donating assistance, people have come together to help students meet educational and training goals as well as helping them face life’s challenges,” said Petrecia Williams, MI-BEST coordinator.
Since its inception, 72 students have entered the program; 30 have received their HSE, 75 percent are currently employed or are continuing their education.
“The dropout rate in Mississippi has grown exponentially, while at the same time, more jobs have become available; however, these jobs require skills. The Northwest Workforce Development Division is working closely with industry to pinpoint specifically needed skills. MI-BEST is listening,” Williams said.
For more information, contact Rachelle Washington, MI-BEST navigator at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Pictured: Northwest Mississippi Community College MI-BEST students (l-r) Lawarren Ellis of Senatobia and Orlando Jones of Tunica are both first semester Manufacturing Technology (Basic Skills training) students. Qualifying students earn their High School Equivalency (HSE) while earning 15 hours of college credit plus four to seven certifications recognized and valued by local employers in one semester for free. (Photo by Julie Bauer)