Community Colleges

Mississippi’s network of 15 community and junior colleges provides excellent opportunities to thousands of Mississippians at a low cost. With a wide spectrum of courses offered in subject areas ranging from university-track academic courses to career and technical education programs, the community colleges provide essential support to Mississippi’s citizens and its employers. And now, thanks to the Mississippi Virtual Community College, more than 2,500 courses are accessible to students anytime, anywhere.

Through the Workforce Enhancement Training Fund, community colleges partner with business and industry to design and implement specialized short-term training programs to teach the skills your employees need to be productive and up-to-date in their jobs. Learn more about the fund.

The community colleges also oversee the Mississippi Career Readiness Certificate (CRC), which determines a job seeker’s ability in three main skills: reading for information, locating information and doing applied math. The ACT, through its WorkKeys™ Occupational Profile Database, selected these skills as important for more than 85% of jobs across all industries.

Through the CRC, employers can identify individuals best suited for their available jobs. Each individual has the opportunity to earn one of four levels of Career Readiness Certification: Bronze, Silver, Gold or Platinum. Each certification tells what percentage of jobs in a database an individual is qualified to do. For example, a silver level certificate worker has the necessary skills for 65 percent of jobs, while a platinum level certificate worker has the skills for 99 percent of jobs.

Browse the list of community and junior colleges on the right »

The Workforce Enhancement Training (WET) Fund’s goal is to provide a company with a skilled, productive workforce. The fund helps provide a business with a custom job-training program that meets its specific personnel needs. The training programs, which state and community college officials design in partnership with the business, ensure a dependable workforce will be equipped with industry skills a company needs.

There are three important stages of workforce development: Planning, Training and Support. The WET fund helps a company cover expenses at Training and Support phases.

In the Planning stage, company and state officials work together to identify:

  • What skills workers need for each available job
  • How applicants will be evaluated
  • What characteristics, attitudes and physical requirements workers need
  • What features will be required for a training facility
  • What equipment will be needed for training
  • How to acquire necessary equipment

After planning, the team develops and carries out training:

  • Pre-employment Training: Helps companies identify productive workers. The local community college provides basic instruction to applicants over the course of several weeks. Companies use this time to identify productive workers and hire only those who best meet the company’s needs.
  • Train-the-Trainer Training: Reimburses companies for limited travel costs associated with training employees in a specialty not offered by a local community college. This training is contingent on the employee training others at the company in these specialty skills.
  • Applicant Assessment: Helps companies assess basic applicant skill levels. A local community college may offer this service.
  • Customized Training: Develops specialized curricula for specific business needs. Community college trainers develop and lead the training.
  • Customized Industry-Based Training: Assists companies in securing a training provider when a college does not provide the training.

After training, the state provides continued support:

  • Provides custom training materials, like training manuals and laser discs, at little or no cost to the company
  • Offers supervision and management courses for first-time supervisors
  • Continues to offer follow-up and support to the company

Read about several industry success stories made possible through this fund.