PEARL ― Sixteen graduates of the Mississippi Construction Education Foundation’s apprenticeship program were honored recently for completing training requirements that move them one step closer toward becoming journeymen– the highest level in a trade profession.

MCEF’s apprenticeship program is approved by the Department of Labor and prepares craft professionals in eight trades: carpentry, electrical, HVAC, pipefitting, plumbing, sheet metal, welding and interior finish. Students must work for an approved employer to be accepted into the four-year program, which includes a total of 576 hours of classroom instruction and 8,000 on-the-job training hours. Students work during the day and take classes at night.

“Construction companies throughout the country, as well as here in Mississippi, are gearing up to hire more workers ― if only they can find them,” said Mike Barkett, president of MCEF. “This shortage of skilled labor is having a negative impact on the construction industry and causing the loss of millions of jobs each year. MCEF is working to address this crisis by encouraging interest in technical-based careers and providing training, resources and recognition to help build a ready workforce for Mississippi.”

In addition to increased job skills and pay, graduates can take apprentice certificates to a community college and earn up to 32 academic credit hours toward an associate degree.

Graduates were honored at a graduation and awards ceremony on May 3 in Pearl. MCEF also presented outstanding student awards to graduates with the highest GPAs and perfect attendance.

Graduating from MCEF’s apprenticeship program were:

  • Kenneth Andrews of Jackson, independent electrical contractor
  • Nicholas Bailey of Richland, employed by Total Electric
  • Adrian Bowens of Picayune, employed by SAIC
  • Walter Briggs of Richland, employed by Lavallee Electric
  • Corey Casey of Ocean Springs, employed by D.N.P. Electric
  • Charles Henderson of Pass Christian, employed by Allsouth Electric
  • Justin Linton of Pelahatchie, employed by Total Electric
  • Craig Mallette of Vancleave, employed by Ace Contractors
  • John McArthur of Ridgeland, employed by Buie Electric
  • Howard McGill of Biloxi, employed by D.N.P.
  • Conroy McIntosh of D’Iberville, independent electrical contractor
  • Edward Poythress of Meridian, independent electrical contractor
  • Jake Repsher of Flowood, employed by ADCO Electric
  • Phaylon Smith of Pearl, employed by Moses Electric
  • Scott Newton of Edwards, employed by Upchurch Services
  • David Wiley of Braxton, employed J.L. Roberts

MCEF is a non-profit educational foundation that provides NCCER craft training and credentialing in more than 100 career and technical programs across the state. The foundation’s mission is to train individuals for the construction and manufacturing industries in Mississippi.

MCEF also offers workforce training and credentialing in construction, industrial maintenance and manufacturing trades.