HANCOCK COUNTY, Miss. (WLOX) - Pearl River Community College is receiving a $6.67 million RESTORE Act grant to support the school’s workforce training in Hancock County. Governor Tate Reeves announced the grant Monday.
The funds will be used for the construction of the PRCC workforce training center, located adjacent to Stennis International Airport and Hancock County High School.
“This is a great day for Pearl River Community College and the Mississippi Gulf Coast,” said Governor Tate Reeves. “We’re grateful for President Trump and Treasury Secretary Mnuchin’s ongoing support of Mississippi’s mission to expand our workforce training capabilities to keep up with changing demand in our state and economy. This new center will play a critical role in continuing to enhance our state’s ability to compete on the national and global stage and create more opportunities for our people to thrive.”
The new center will allow PRCC to deliver technical skills training to students to support existing industry workforce needs and to meet the requirements of future growth sectors, such as the aviation and aerospace industry.
In October, PRCC announced plans to build the Aviation and Aerospace Technology facility at Stennis International Airport. The 18,000 square foot hangar was expected to be finished by the end of 2020, while the 25,000 square foot facility should be done by the end of 2021.
“An important component of an improved economy for the Gulf Coast is workforce training so residents can find better employment and opportunities,” said Chris Wells, MDEQ Interim Executive Director. “The anticipated need for a skilled workforce in the aviation and aerospace industry fits well with the existing facilities in the area and Pearl River Community College’s mission in Hancock County.”
“It is a historic day for Pearl River Community College, Hancock County, and our surrounding communities. We extend our sincere gratitude to our local, state and federal officials who have provided overwhelming support for this project,” said Dr. Adam Breerwood, PRCC President. “Pearl River Community College is committed to expanding the reach of higher education and workforce development opportunities. We have been preparing and anxiously awaiting the final approval needed to begin construction. Governor Reeves’ announcement puts us one step closer to providing a state of the art facility that will serve as an economic engine for the Gulf South Region.”
South Mississippi’s Congressional delegation joined in celebrating the award.
“With world-class facilities like Stennis Space Center and a talented workforce, Hancock County has become a hub for Mississippi’s growing aerospace and aviation industries,” U.S. Senator Roger Wicker said. “The PRCC Aviation and Aerospace Academy will help connect students to rewarding careers and attract new employers to South Mississippi.”
“The RESTORE Act was enacted after a job-killing environmental disaster, so it is fitting that funding from this law is being directed to improving job training skills for Mississippians. It’s commendable that the completion of this workforce center will build on the Pearl River Community College’s capacity to support workers and industry,” U.S. Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith said.
“Pearl River Community College is in a great position to mold future leaders that will play a role in cultivating Mississippi’s aerospace and aviation industries. This premier facility will soon allow Mississippi’s sharpest minds to receive a world-class education and support the growing 21st-century workforce, all here in South Mississippi,” Representative Steven Palazzo said.
PRCC has secured an additional grant of $2,000,000 through the U.S. Department of Commerce Economic Development Administration (EDA) for a portion of the project construction costs, bringing the total budget for this phase of construction to $8,670,007.