Continental Tire’s flagship production plant in Clinton will offer paid job training programs for Clinton and Hinds Community College students.
Quita Bride, spokeswoman for the 1,000-acre plant in Clinton, announced Thursday a partnership with the college to start up a production and mechatronics apprentice program for interested students.
The company announced last year it plans to add about 250 jobs each year over the next several years.
The goal, she said, is to support the academic goals and professional development of students who are interested in manufacturing careers.
The programs offer paid on-the-job training with the global company and industry certifications. The company and college will also cover tuition and book fees while students are in the apprentice programs.
“The Hinds Community College team is extremely excited about this partnership,” college President Stephen A. Vacik said in a news release. “It is a great opportunity for students and we are committed to implementing exceptional programming that allows us to train citizens in Central Mississippi to work with a world-class company.”
Apprentice program details
The production apprentice program will be open to students who are dual-enrolled in high school and HCC’s industrial maintenance program. Initially, it will be offered to juniors and seniors at Clinton High School and Hinds County Career and Technical Center.
The mechatronics apprentice program is a combination of both mechanical and electrical disciplines and a growing industry within advanced manufacturing. The program will be open to Hinds Community College students who complete the production apprentice program.
Both programs require students to balance a 2.5 GPA and 32-hour workweek.
Local workers in it for the long haul
The plant already has employed several Mississippians since it announced its plan to open in Central Mississippi in 2016. The $1.45 billion private investment expects to employ 2,500 workers in the next nine years, representing the largest economic development announcement for the area in a generation.
When the plant officially opened in October 2019, Jaren Bowser of Pass Christian said he had been with the company since 2017.
The Millsaps College graduate, who has a master’s degree in accounting, heard about the plant, applied and was sent to Mount Vernon, Illinois, for training.
Bowser is a “capital buyer” at the plant. The job, he said, has the potential for growth and opportunity for career development. Bowser looked even further down the line, citing the plant’s vision to be in Hinds County for years to come.
“I really want to make this generational. To have the safety and security to make it a family career down the road,” he said.