Meridian students see career opportunities at Kemper

Meridian students see career opportunities at Kemper

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Kemper External Affairs Manager Annie McMillan speaks to a group of students from Meridian’s Ross Collins Career and Technical Center.

For more than 70 years, Meridian’s Ross Collins Career and Technical Center has been Mississippi’s premiere vocational-technical education facility, helping hundreds of high school students access a diverse array of promising career paths.

Now, faculty and students hope to access new career opportunities for the 21st century thanks to Mississippi Power’s Kemper County energy facility.

“As a company, we’ve been working with secondary and collegiate level institutions to grow the available workforce here in East Mississippi, particularly a workforce that is trained or trainable in the skilled, high-paying jobs Mississippi Power is bringing to this area with the Kemper Project,” said Kemper County External Affairs Manager Annie McMillan.

Ross Collins students recently toured the Kemper facility and got a first-hand look at the newest generating units for Mississippi Power.

“The students got a lot out of seeing this facility,” Ross Collins instructor Laticia Bickham said of the plant. “I didn’t know all of this was going on.  It was very eye-opening, and we’ll be bringing our kids back for sure.”

The recent visit was conducted as part of a program emphasizing Black History Month, raising awareness of the various career opportunities available to a skilled workforce.

More than 50 students attending benefitted from a panel discussion of Mississippi Power employees — including lineman, engineers and customers service providers — discussing their jobs and the various pathways to rewarding careers within the energy industry.

“Who knew that power outlets had so many thousands of men and women behind them,” advanced drafting and engineering student Christian Kirkpatrick said. “Thank you Mississippi Power. The visit to this plant was awesome!”

The students also heard from Mississippi Power recruiting consultant Stephanie Burdett, who provided specific strategies for effective resume’ writing, enhancing job interview skills, personal presentation and professional development.

“Mississippi Power has always put great emphasis on hiring local and being an integral, active part of the communities we serve,” Meridian Division Manager Eddie Kelly said. “This is a great group of young people, and I hope to see some of them in my office looking for a career at Mississippi Power one day.”