Hattiesburg, Miss. (July 28, 2023) — Cooperative Energy, together with the 11 Member distribution cooperatives it serves, including Coast Electric and Pearl River Valley Electric, awarded a Cooperative Competes grant to Pearl River Community College (PRCC) to expand its Utility Lineman Technology program.
The program is offered at the college’s main campus in Poplarville and currently has about 25 students participating each year. A $50,000 grant from Cooperative Competes and another $50,000 from Mississippi Power will help PRCC construct a new building for training, allowing more students to participate in this high-demand program. The new facility will also be used as an energy academy to introduce high school students to careers in the energy industry.
“One of our responsibilities is to bring students in that have never been introduced to an industry before and show them a clear path to success,” said Pearl River Community College President Dr. Adam Breerwood. “Students have come in and received everything they need to create opportunities for themselves and their families right here in our community. We couldn’t do this without the support of our local companies and industries and we’re excited about not just where we are today, but where we’re headed in the future.”
“The lineman program at PRCC is an asset to our community,” said Coast Electric President and CEO Ron Barnes. “It gives students the tools they need to build a successful career locally, and it ensures that our cooperative has a skilled workforce for years to come. This investment is not just about a building but improving life for people in our community and creating job opportunities for our residents. At Coast Electric, our mission is to improve the quality of life in our communities. Part of that responsibility includes giving people opportunities to thrive right here in Mississippi.”
The Cooperative Competes initiative, aimed at increasing product and community competitiveness, was unveiled in 2019. A component of the initiative is to enhance workforce development efforts in the communities that we serve by applying for grant funds to offset program related costs for workforce development programs. These funds are provided jointly by Cooperative Energy’s 11 Member distribution cooperatives. Eligible uses include industrial site preparation, environmental due diligence studies, as a portion of the local match for Mississippi Development Authority’s Site Development Grant Program, workforce development or other property development needs. A local funding match is typically required for Cooperative Competes grants.
For more information about Cooperative Competes visit www.cooperativeenergy.com/economic-development-cooperative-competes/