Stonewall, Miss. Over the past 18 months, Jones County Junior College and the Clarke County Board of Supervisors have worked tirelessly to bring the county's first college campus to Stonewall, and Wednesday morning that became a reality as they broke ground on the new Jones County Junior College Clarke County Learning Center. JCJC President, Dr. Jesse Smith says this is their fourth learning center.
It's a perfect fit. It needs to happen here, and we strongly believe that the road to economic recovery is going to come right by the college, and we're glad that Clarke County is invested in their people."
While also offering GED classes and courses for students seeking degrees, the main focus of this learning center will be on specialized training in the energy sector. Both Dr. Smith and Clarke County Supervisor Troy Smith say there are not only several high paying jobs graduates of this program will be qualified for, but putting this campus in Clarke County will help improve their economy.
"Our main educational point will be to get our young kids ready that don't want to go for a 4 year degree, and have them attend this college for 1 year and then go to work, and that right there will keep our children at home, keep our money and our tax base right here, they'll buy land, build houses, and keep things right here in Clarke County."
EMEPA has provided a 1.36 Million dollar zero-interest loan through the USDA Rural Development program, and construction is expected to take about 18 months. The center will be the only one like it in the state, and Dr. Smith believes it will be a win-win situation for students, Stonewall, and Clarke County.
"I foresee that there are going to be folks that are going to be coming great distances to participate in this advanced petroleum training that we're going to be offering, so things will be good."