Devin Trunnell is only a little more than a year removed from his Clinton Christian Academy graduation, but has already accomplished a lot at Hinds Community College’s Raymond Campus.
The former high school football player is concentrating on his career goals, not sports, as he takes heavy course loads to finish his credential in Industrial Mechanics & Maintenance program. That’s a field that combines electromechanical technology and automation and gets students trained for the modern-day manufacturing setting.
He has had some stumbling blocks along the way that Hinds has helped him smooth out.
“I lost my dad during my 11th grade year, which was about a year after our house in Jackson burned down, so it’s been one thing after another,” said Trunnell, 19. “My mom, sister and I moved to Clinton after that to have another place to live.
“Some family members let me know about the Hinds program after they heard about Continental Tire coming here,” he said. “They told me you could start working right away at an increased rate.”
He has become a role model for his classmates, who gather around him to ask how he has accomplished so much. He has already had two successful internships – one at Nissan’s Canton plant sponsored by the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) Internship Program and the other with Veolia, which contracts with the City of Jackson on wastewater treatment.
The college’s partnerships with business and industries such as those, coupled with hands-on classroom instruction at Hinds, has set Trunnell up for success in ways he didn’t think possible just a few years ago.
Instructors have taken note of Trunnell’s motivation to succeed despite having to juggle having a leadership role in his family.
“Devin is taking advantage of opportunities of the program and industry to learn as much as he can about his craft,” said David Creel, district director of Manufacturing Training at Hinds. “Devin will make some company an excellent technician but as importantly, he will make them an excellent employee.”
He’s also attending Hinds on the Southern Insurance Group scholarship, one of the roughly 100 scholarships available through the Hinds Community College Foundation. “Being on scholarship means less financial worries,” he said. “When you have to pay something down, it limits your choices after school.”
For Trunnell, it means having more time to focus on studies, such as learning how to work modern-day equipment such as PLCs, or programmable logic controllers.
“I’m learning about the machinery I’ll see in the workplace, plus getting familiar with doing preventive maintenance,” he said. “If you catch things early before they break down with things like PLCs, it’ll save time and money.”
He’s channeling the kind of resiliency he has shown in his personal life while in the classroom, which will serve him well in the workforce.
“I have witnessed Devin tackle a challenge in the classroom and used it as an opportunity to grow and learn from it,” said Andrea Jackson, his instructor in his Electro-Mechanical Technology class last term. “I believe Devin will find continual academic success throughout his educational career and beyond.”
With a solid start at Hinds, Trunnell’s options are wide open for earning a living while he contemplates growing his academic resume’.
“People in the industry I’ve interned around have told me it’s hard to find good maintenance people nowadays, as a lot of them are retiring,” he said. “So, there’s a lot of need for it.”