Hinds Community College opens hi-tech training center at MCITy

Published 3:13 pm Thursday, December 8, 2022

Hinds Community College held the ribbon-cutting ceremony for its new Emerging Technologies Training Center on Wednesday at the Mississippi Center for Innovation and Technology (MCITy) in downtown Vicksburg on Wednesday.

The project is intended to help the community develop job-related technology capitalizing on the local presence of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) and the USACE Engineer Research and Development Center (ERDC), as well as other partners. The center will provide training and technical support for students, small and emerging businesses and existing industries.

Several community leaders and school officials spoke at the event, including Associate Vice President of Workforce Development for Hinds Community College, David Creel.

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“What we wanted to do with this center was not to duplicate what we’re doing on campus just five miles down the road,” Creel said. “We wanted it to be special. We wanted it to be additional; we wanted it to be something innovative.”

The center will include a virtual reality/augmented reality lab, a workforce/multipurpose lab and an Industry 4.0 lab, which is a system designed for training workers in manufacturing processes through simulation.

Kelle Barfield, President of the Warren County Board of Supervisors, also spoke at the event, saying she is happy to see more training for workers being made available in the community.

“I’ve worked for Entergy for some 33 years. And I can tell you, we would work with economic development,” Barfield said. “Fundamentally, the very first question wasn’t ‘Do you have the land?’ or ‘How much is the electricity going to cost us?’ It was ‘Do you have a qualified workforce?’”

Ryan Miller is the Executive Director of Accelerate MS, the state’s workforce development program established in 2020. He said he was also enthusiastic about the opportunities the new facility will bring to the local workforce.

“When you take the tour — and I’ve had the chance to see some of the technology in these rooms — you’re going to understand why so many people will be excited to find their way into this hall, into these offices and into these simulators,” he said. “It’s going to open a door for them that they’ve never seen before.”

After the ceremony, attendees were split into groups and given a tour of the new facility.

In one room, a demonstration of a motion capture system was on display. The system allowed the movements of an individual wearing a special suit to be directly translated into animations for a 3D model of a person displayed on a monitor. Another room was set up with virtual reality headsets used for visualizing designs used in manufacturing.

Workforce training at the facility is expected to begin soon. For more information, contact Hinds Community College at hindscc.edu or call 1-800-446-3722.