Career STEP Program T roy B lakeney G ains N ew C areer

Chris Clark, ECCC’s workforce development coordinator, introduced Blakeney to the Career STEP Program, which covered Blakeney’s tuition, testing fees, and supportive services while in the Electrical Utility Lineman program. “I believe it was God calling me there,” said Blakeney. “After looking into it, everything about that career seemed like something I knew I would enjoy, getting to work outside and alongside others who are all helping people.” Blakeney began the Electrical Utility Lineman program on August 6, 2021, and completed the training on Dec. 6. Two days later, he began his career with Chain Electric in Hattiesburg working on transmission lines in Alabama for Alabama Power. “Finding a job wasn’t difficult at all,” said Blakeney. “With the assistance I received from instructor Curtis Bradley and the rest of the people at ECCC, I was able to quickly find employment.” Blakeney says that thanks to East Central and the financial support of the Career STEP Program he was able to settle into a career from which he hopes to one day retire. “This is my first real job in a field that I desire to retire from,” said

Troy Blakeney was looking for a career job that he could one day retire from. Thanks to East Central Community College and the Southern Mississippi Planning & Development District’s Career STEP Program, he is well on his way to achieving that dream. The Southern Mississippi Planning & Development District’s Career Skills Training Education Pathways (STEP) Program is a workforce program that covers the cost of short-term (less than one year) training, such as workforce and career-technical education courses. The program partners with local community colleges, such as East Central Community College, to connect participants to training opportunities and ultimately to career pathways. Blakeney of Raleigh was pursuing a nursing degree in spring 2021 when he decided to change career paths. He had heard about ECCC’s Electrical Utility Lineman program through friends who had already enrolled in the fall 2021 class. The 16-week program was launched in February 2019 to prepare students for entry-level employment in utility power transmission and distribution construction, troubleshooting, and repair to meet a need in that field.

Troy Blakeney

Blakeney. “This experience in the Electrical Utility Lineman program has had a huge impact on my life. I can prepare now to do many things such as get a first home for me and my soon-to-be wife. For more information on the Electrical Utility Lineman program at ECCC, contact Clark at 601-635-6245 or cclark@eccc.edu. For more information on the Career STEP Program, contact LeVar Robinson at 601-635-6430 or lrobinson@eccc. edu, or Jaqueline Dedeaux at 228-868- 2326 or jdedeaux@smpdd.com. East Central Community College students inducted into the Student Hall of Fame during the 2022 Awards Ceremony held in Huff Auditorium April 21 and their respective hometowns include (from left) Keshawn Davis of Morton, Gianna Esposito of Union, Mabry Mayfield of Carthage, Maggie Kirk of Louisville, Heston Harrison of Little Rock, and Annabelle Miller of Lucedale. Selection to the Hall of Fame is considered the highest honor a student can receive at the college. To be considered for the prestigious honor, students must demonstrate exemplary character, superior scholarship, worthy leadership, and contribute to the betterment of East Central Community College.

2022 Student Hall of Fame



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