Industry Day at EMCC

Staff Writer

Electrical Technology and Automation and Control Technology Departments of East Mississippi Community College invited local industries who are interested in the students from the programs to come, visit the hands-on classrooms and provide feedback for what their companies are in need of from employees.
"We produce quality students," Bobby Johnson, EMCC Electrical Technologies instructor said. "We all work together within this program to provide good candidates for the expanding workforce."

Joanna Alford, instructor of Automation and Control said they are very proud of the students in the program.
"Our enrollment numbers are good," Johnson said. "But the only numbers that count are graduation numbers. We are pleased to say they are up as well. We are beginning to go into the high schools to promote the skills we provide. We want to get them interested early."

Johnson said every student is evaluated. He said he has recommended that some would be better suited for a different program.
"We are dealing with electricity," Johnson said. "Safety is our first concern. If you have students who are not listening, not paying attention and not giving 100 percent to the program, they are in the wrong place. Here, we expect them to be on time, just like they would be for a job. We expect them to come in ready to get to it, just like a job."
Terry Warren Sr., instructor in the Electrical Program said what employers expect from their employees is what is expected of the students in the program. He said the young people have to learn work ethic.

Johnson said he demands a good work ethic. He said that is becoming harder to find in students.
"We had some that came in this semester and addressed me as 'Hey Man' or 'Hey Dude," Johnson said. "That isn't going to happen. Students here treat all instructors and each other with respect. We are all professionals here and are teaching professionalism as part of the curriculum."

Alford said the students often tour worksites. They are shown the local industries where they may be employed at some point after graduation.
"We want them to see what work looks like," Alford said. "We work with some of you with internships. We try very hard to match the students with workplaces where they are suited. It is good for the company and it is extremely beneficial for the students."

Future Tek is a company that is part of the intern partnership with EMCC. They have two students from the Electrical Technology and Automation and Control Departments that are currently working when they don't have classes.
"We have two young women as interns," Kim Brock, CEO of Future Tek said. "We build educational trainers. The Electrical Technologies Department buy the ones they use for training the students from us."
Brock said her husband had found a way to make the original trainers more compact and started Future Tek, Inc. 20 years ago.
"The internships are awesome," Eugene Kimball, sales representative for Future Tek said. "It gives the students real world experience before they enter the workforce full time. The young women we have, Heather Parnell and Amber Summerall are working out great, They are very focused on the job. They work a few hours, go to class and come back and pick right back up from where they left that morning. That's important."

Bob Lovelace, an Automation and Control instructor, said by next year they will be moving into the new facility on Highway 82.
"We're getting in $300,000 in new equipment soon," Lovelace said. "Only to have to transport it to the new building. But that's a great thing. We will have dedicated classrooms and labs. In two years we will be inviting you to come and visit us there."

Johnson said students can receive certification in just one field, but the instructors encourage the students to get their Associates degree and have their education in both types of technologies.
"These two fields go hand-in-hand," Johnson said. "We want to provide our industries with a technologically skilled workforce. We try to instill in them the idea that true learning never ends. What is state-of-the-art today, will be obsolete in just a few years. We want them to stay ahead of the game."