GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - One thousand new shipyard jobs at Topship Shipyard is big news, not only for craftsmen currently looking for employment, but also for students at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College.
When Jason Barker moved to the Coast, he decided to also make a career move and enrolled in MGCCC's welding program. He says learning 1,000 shipyard jobs are coming to the area affirmed his decision.
"It made my hopes high and broadened my horizons knowing that there are jobs for me waiting on me when I graduate," said Barker.
Because welders are in high demand among local shipyards and fabrication shops, MGCCC officials say their training programs never lack students. College officials ensure their courses stay in step with the kinds of skills employers are seeking.
Master Trainer in Workforce Development Larry Porter said, "We can modify our curriculum or our program to whatever their needs are. We would be spinning our wheels if we did not have a good relationship with our industry partners, and if we were teaching something they didn't need it just wouldn't work."
College officials say Mississippi can't convince new industries to locate to the state without providing an eager and capable workforce.
"Again when we talk to the governor and MDA, we realize what the needs are, the kinds of industries that they're trying to recruit," said MGCCC President Dr. Mary Graham. "So we intern stand up programs for training in those different types of areas. When the governor asks if we can do it, we always say yes because we know we've got great instructors who can put whatever type of training on the ground that we need to develop business here on the Gulf Coast."
College officials say they hold high standards for completing the welding program so their students will be able pass certification.