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Janice Lewis with the Mississippi Secretary of State’s office chats with Northwest Mississippi Community College president Dr. Michael Heindl after the Hernando Main Street Chamber of Commerce quarterly luncheon.

There is a need for more workforce training programs in Northwest Mississippi, according to the president of Northwest Mississippi Community College (NWCC), and the school is in the early stages toward fulfilling that need. 

Dr. Michael Heindl, finishing his first year as the college’s president, spoke to the Hernando Main Street Chamber of Commerce luncheon and described a concept he called Industry 4.0, which touches on many career programs the Senatobia school offers.

Heindl pointed to what he called “stagnant enrollment” at the college to describe the need.

“Our enrollment is stagnant and the reason for that is so many students are out working,” Heindl pointed out. “We have a need and the need is for workforce training in our county.”

As the college looks to offer more workforce training, Heindl said NWCC is looking across the lake from the back of the DeSoto Center in Southaven as a spot where a future center might be located.

“There is undeveloped space there,” Heindl said. “The college is pursuing funding to construct a Workforce Training Center, similar to what you may have seen in other parts of the state.”

Similar facilities are located elsewhere in Mississippi, including the Coast, eastern and central Mississippi, Heindl said.

“Right now it is conceptualized as a 55,000 square foot facility,” he explained. “It will have workforce credit and non-credit training. It is not ready to build yet. We are seeking funding for it and we’re in the beginning process of design for it.”

Heindl added the center would allow for growth of credit career-technical programs, including a possible addition of a program that is now only located in Senatobia.

“We have a whole health care cluster and we’ve talked about expanding our associate degree nursing program to DeSoto County,” Heindl said. “Currently that program is at Senatobia only but we have so many health care opportunities in DeSoto County that we see that need, as well.”

Bob Bakken is Managing Editor for the DeSoto Times-Tribune.

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