Hinds Community College and Continental Tire have signed an agreement to launch two new programs that will support the academic goals and professional development of students who are interested in manufacturing careers.

From left, Brenda Myers, state director of the U.S. Department of Labor Office of Apprenticeship in Mississippi, Hinds President Dr. Stephen Vacik and Dr. Chad Stocks, Hinds Vice President of Workforce & Community Development (Hinds Community College/April Garon)

The Production Apprentice and Mechatronics Apprentice Programs offer paid, on-the-job experience with a global company and industry certifications.

“Continental is proud to partner with Hinds Community College to establish a program that will create a solid foundation for many careers in Mississippi,” said Michael Egner, plant manager of the Continental Plant along Interstate 20 in Clinton.

The program will be open to students who are dually-enrolled in high school and the college’s Industrial Maintenance and Electro-Mechanical Technology programs. Initially, the program will be offered to high school juniors and seniors at Clinton High School and Hinds County Career and Technical Center.

The Mechatronics Apprentice Program, a combination of both mechanical and electrical disciplines, is a growing industry within advanced manufacturing. The program will be open to Hinds students who complete the company’s Production Apprentice Program.

“The Hinds Community College team is extremely excited about this partnership,” said Hinds President Dr. Stephen A. Vacik. “It is a great opportunity for students and we are committed to implementing exceptional programming that allows us to train citizens in central Mississippi to work with a world class company.”

Both programs require students to balance a 2.5 GPA and 32-hour work week. Participants will receive paid tuition and book fees while in the Apprentice Programs. In 2017, Continental and HCC introduced the Maintenance Technician Internship Program.

Four students spent the summer in Mount Vernon, Ill. working with specialists at Continental’s tire plant. Twelve of the interns were promoted to full-time maintenance technicians at the new plant in Clinton.

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