STONE COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - High school dropouts in Stone County are getting a second chance. Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College started a new program this year to train low-income young adults for college or a career.
Mikayla Crawford and Summer Denning are not your typical college students. And the classes they're taking are not traditionally taught at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College.
Mikayla and Summer are among the first students enrolled in the new "Youth Out-of-School" program at the Perkinston campus. They are both high school dropouts. Mikayla left school in 2014 for medical reasons.
"I passed out. I had a seizure and I was having so many a day, I had no choice but to drop out," said the 18-year-old Stone County resident.
The no-cost program is designed for low-income Stone County residents. To be eligible, participants must be between 16 to 24 years old, are not attending any school, and those who need to get their high school equivalency certificate.
"I've never been this far and she's helping us get our GED and jobs and start college," said Summer Denning of Stone County.
Program instructor Irvette Dove works with the students to identify a career path, then, they come up with a plan to achieve that goal. The students learn all sorts of skills to prepare for the workforce, from interviewing and effective communication techniques, to money management and work ethics.
"Some of them think that they may not have had very many options. But when they come here, I want them to feel they can be successful," said Dove.
The students can also take advantage of paid internships at local businesses to gain work and life experience. Mikayla wants to pursue a career in film studies.
"Very, very helpful. It's been wonderful. She guides us in the right direction. She gives us a second chance at life," said Mikayla.
The federal program is funded by a $250,000 grant, administered by the Southern Mississippi Planning and Development District. Students who achieve certain skills in the class can earn financial rewards ranging from $25 to $100.
MGCCC is still accepting applications for the program. For more information, contact Irvette Dove at (601) 528-8486 or firstname.lastname@example.org.