Thanks to Hinds Community College Vicksburg, training available if needed

Published 12:00 am Saturday, September 26, 2015

As it often does, Hinds Community College is extending a hand to help members of our community affected by potential layoffs at Cameron International’s Vicksburg plant.

Cameron sent a letter to the Board of Supervisors earlier this month saying it planned to lay off up to 222 people — the vast majority of its workforce.

A listing of jobs potentially affected by layoffs includes 63 welders, 19 production operators and field service specialists and 17 inspectors, among dozens of other positions. These are skilled positions, especially in the case of welders, where people have trained to make a career. Layoffs would flood the market for existing welding jobs, but Hinds is there to help with its workforce education programs.

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“It can help, and it will help the community and the folks who are getting laid off if they want to retrain for different areas or upgrade their skills, but I can’t say that it’s just for the folks getting laid off at LeTourneau (the former name for Cameron) because it is open to the general public,” said Marvin Moak, the dean of Hinds’ Vicksburg campus.

New career and technical courses are currently being offered in residential carpentry, culinary arts, simulation and animation design, welding and industrial maintenance among other categories. These courses can lead to industry credentials, certificate completion or associates degrees in the nine new programs.

Having such offerings in our county is a boom to our community and helps develop a well skilled workforce.

“It allows them the ability and opportunity to take the skills they already have and update them and upgrade them,” Moak said. “They can take what they currently know and what they currently do and update it so that they are marketable for the job market.”

We are hopeful though that an announcement this week by Port Commission director Wayne Mansfield comes true. Mansfield told Lions Club this week that Cameron might not have to make cutbacks, but repeated attempts to contact Cameron officials were unsuccessful.

We are hoping for the best, but thanks to Hinds Community College, Vicksburg is prepared for the worst.