The Appalachian Regional Commission East Mississippi POWER (ARC EMPOWER) Initiative is a regional workforce development endeavor comprising of Winston, Webster, Kemper and Choctaw Counties. The goal of this grant initiative is to further develop the regional workforce in these four coal-impacted counties in an effort to support existing manufacturing employment needs, while cultivating a future talent pipeline through testing assessments and advanced technical training. In Winston County, the ARC EMPOWER Initiative is powered through a unique partnership between the Louisville Municipal School District (LMSD), East Central Community College (ECCC), Golden Triangle Planning and Development District (GTPDD) and the Winston Partnership.
One objective is to assess and measure an individual’s skills set through the standardized workforce credential – the ACT WorkKeys© National Career Readiness Certificate (NCRC) – as a means of pairing individuals to jobs based on their quantifiable skill level. With Winston County designated as an ACT Work Ready Community, testing opportunities are made available to residents throughout the county based on certain requirements, and remediation courses allow individuals to improve upon previous testing assessments.
Another objective is to strengthen the local workforce by implementing middle-skill manufacturing training, while reinforcing the existing Pathway Model programs. The LMSD and the GTPDD offer entry-level technical training pathways and apprenticeships to high school students by exposing them to multi-craft disciplines and work experiences. With certified instructors, ECCC builds upon this effort by offering multiple job training courses and curriculum in the areas of manufacturing safety, basic welding, advanced welding, and industrial maintenance through the Louisville Career Advancement Center.
The ARC EMPOWER Initiative strives to be a catalyst in developing a regional workforce that can meet the needs and demands of business and industry. By enhancing the technical skill sets of the individuals within the region, this initiative desires to create an improved, prepared, and skilled workforce. For more information concerning the ARC EMPOWER Initiative or classes being offered, please contact the Winston Partnership here.