EMCC promotes MI-BEST

East Mississippi Community College MI-BEST navigator Jeremy Tate, at right, and EMCC Adult Basic Education Director Jim Bearden, second from right, serve lunch to picnic attendees at a picnic at the EMCC WEst Point Center. Events offering information on MI-BEST were held at EMCC's West Point and Golden Triangle Campuses. (Submitted Photo)
Staff Writer

East Mississippi Community College spent much of the week of Oct.16 to Oct. 21 pushing a new statewide adult education program.

Mississippi Integrated Basic Education and Skills Training (MI-BEST) launched last year, and allows students to pursue technical and career training at the same time they pursue a GED or similar adult education certificate. EMCC held two events this week to promote MI-BEST, a picnic at the West Point center on Tuesday and an open house on the Golden Triangle campus Thursday. In addition to information about the MI-BEST program, food and games were also available to students at the events.

“We chose the fall festival as a time to just to come out, spread the word, do some promoting and recruit new students for MI-BEST,” said EMCC MI-BEST career navigator Jeremy Tate.
Tate said Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant had proclaimed the week as “MI-BEST Week.”

“Basically, what we do is we infuse education with skills training, “ Tate said. “We take individuals who need a high school equivalent, and we help them get their high school equivalent. We help them also get a WorkKeys, and we provide them with a job training course.”

Currently options for job training available to EMCC MI-BEST students include certified nursing assistant, manufacturing skills, commercial truck driving and utility lineman.
In its first year at EMCC, more than 30 students completed MI-BEST.

Tate said the program’s events had gone well, with many interested in the program and many picking up information.

MI-BEST represents several changes to adult education in Mississippi.

“It’s kind of opened the door for dual enrollment for adult ed students, where they can go ahead and begin their workforce training activities for employment while they’re still working on their GED,” said EMCC Adult Basic Education Director Jim Bearden. “The Students are really excited about coming in and getting a quick start. This has been a great program for them. It’s been an opportunity for them to do more than just one thing. It keeps them focused. It pushes them. It motivates them to get each step completed.”

Tate said MI-BEST graduates were often hired by Golden Triangle industries including PACCAR and Yokohama.

“We’ve also had completers come sign up for academic courses and some who go to the military,” Tate said.

Tate also said the program hoped the events would get more information out for anyone who could benefit from MI-BEST or other adult education programs.

“It’s been really good to get the word out,” Bearden said. “We’ve had a lot of information that we’ve disseminated today, locally what the MI-BEST program is really about. These students can take this information back home (and) give it to mothers, brothers, people in the family. It’s just another way to open that door and get the word out.”

For more information, the adult education programs at EMCC can be reached at 662-243-1985