East Central Community College in Decatur is preparing to open a Career Advance Center in the city of Forest to serve the residents of Scott County through high school equivalency, adult basic education, and workforce training classes.

It will be ECCC’s first Career Advancement Center in Scott County and gives the college a presence in all five counties it serves.

ECCC is leasing the property at 316 South Main Street in Forest from Aug. 1, 2017, to June 30, 2018, thanks to federal grant monies provided through the Mississippi Community College Board’s (MCCB) Office of Adult Education.

The college’s lease agreement with the city of Forest was approved by the ECCC Board of Trustees at its August meeting.

East Central Community College President Dr. Billy Stewart noted that the college has been searching for a location for a Career Advancement Center in Scott County since 2013, and praised the efforts of Forest Mayor Nancy Chambers and the Scott County Board of Supervisors in their efforts in helping locate a suitable facility.

“East Central Community College is so proud of our partnership with Mayor Chambers, the city of Forest and other elected officials in Scott County,” said Stewart. “A Career Advancement Center in Scott County has been a dream shared by several individuals for many years. This beautifully renovated facility in downtown Forest will now provide a physical location for East Central to meet the educational and training needs of the citizens of Scott County.

“We are also grateful for the grant funding from MCCB that will allow us to pay the monthly lease for the facility. Without grant funding, this Career Advancement Center in Forest would not be possible.”

The ECCC Forest Career Advancement Center will give ECCC a Career Advancement Center in all five of the counties in its district. ECCC already has centers in Leake County (Carthage), Neshoba County (Philadelphia/Choctaw), Newton County (Decatur), and Winston County (Louisville).

“Community colleges are uniquely positioned to react and meet the needs of the districts we serve,” said ECCC Vice President for Instruction Dr. Teresa Houston. “With the closing of Education and Training, Inc. (ETI) in Scott and Neshoba counties, as well as the closing of the Options program in Scott County, this location will allow East Central Community College to centralize and increase our high school equivalency offerings within the county and meet the needs of those wanting to obtain their diploma for productive citizenry or upward mobility.”

High school equivalency, or HSE, was formerly known as GED and is recognized as equivalent to a high school diploma.

Houston added that the college will also offer additional workforce training opportunities and potentially offer evening for-credit academic courses at the Forest Career Advancement Center in the future.

“It has been a pleasure to work with Dr. Billy Stewart and the East Central personnel to make the building on South Main Street suitable and available for East Central’s needs,” said Forest Mayor Nancy Chambers. “The city of Forest joins with all of Scott County in celebrating East Central’s presence in our county seat. We look forward to an outstanding working relationship.”

For more information on the classes and training to be offered at the ECCC Forest Career Advancement Center, contact Ryan Clarke, ECCC director of adult basic education/high school equivalency, at 601-635-6387 or rclarke@eccc.edu.

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