U.S. Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith of Mississippi will be among those helping East Central Community College and its partners celebrate the college’s new Diesel Equipment Technology program and the opening of its new facility during ceremonies Friday, Aug. 23, at the former U.S. Motors Plant site in Philadelphia.

The public is invited to the 10 a.m. program at the ECCC Diesel Equipment Technology program facility located at 1250 Pecan Avenue in Philadelphia.

A portion of the old U.S. Motors Plant has been renovated to include space for a classroom and shop for the new program, the first-ever off-site degree program offered by ECCC.

The project was a joint effort between ECCC, the city of Philadelphia, Neshoba County, Community Development Partnership, and USDA Rural Development.

In addition to Senator Hyde-Smith, others participating in the program will be David Vowell, president of the Community Development Partnership; ECCC President Dr. Billy Stewart; John Rounsaville, state director for USDA Rural Development in Mississippi; and Scott Boatner, pastor of West Philadelphia Baptist Church.

The first cohort of 12 students began classes in the Diesel Equipment Technology program on Aug. 12. Mike Tingle, a Neshoba County native and former Newton County School District transportation director, is instructor for the program.

A needs assessment conducted by ECCC indicated a great need in the area for diesel mechanics.

The Diesel Equipment Technology program runs from August to July. Students have an opportunity to earn 45 hours and a technical certificate during that time and move straight into the workforce. They also have the option to complete an additional 15 academic core courses and earn the Associate of Applied Science degree.

The instructional program provides students with competencies required to maintain a variety of industrial diesel equipment, including agricultural tractors, commercial trucks, and construction equipment.

Coursework includes Fundamentals of Equipment Mechanics, Electrical/Electronic Systems I, II, and III, Hydraulics I, Diesel Systems I, II, and III, Preventative Maintenance and Service, Transportation Power Train, Air Conditioning and Heating Systems, Advanced Brake Systems (Air), Steering and Suspension Systems, and Heavy Equipment Powertrain.

ECCC has applied for approval of the program by its accrediting body, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC), with confirmation of that approval anticipated this fall.

To be considered for the program in the fall of 2020, prospective students must complete the online ECCC application for admission at www.eccc.edu, and submit all official high school and college transcripts or an official high school equivalency diploma.

For more information, contact Wayne Eason, director of Career & Technical Education, at 601-635-6210 or email [email protected].