RIPLEY -- Tippah County residents who are interested in earning a GED or getting better prepared to secure employment have an option that is not only free, it could offer cash incentives for good performance.

The Northeast Mississippi Community College location off of the square, just behind the Chancery Court building, offers two programs focusing on GED training and workforce development. One program helps individuals earn a GED, the other helps get young adults into the workforce.

The GED program is open to anyone over 17 seeking to earn a GED. Whether an individual is seeking a GED for a job related goal or for a personal goal, they are welcome. Participants receive instruction four days a week to prepare them for the test. Extra emphasis is placed on each student's area of need. The required score for passing the test has recently been lowered, making it less difficult to earn the GED. The classes meet Monday through Thursday, from 8 a.m. until noon.

The C2C (Counseling to Career) Program is intended for individuals between the ages of 16 and 24 who need to learn job skills. If a GED is needed, earning it is a part of the program. Those who earn a GED through the program may even receive a $100 reward from Three Rivers Planning and Development District for their accomplishment. The program is also open to individuals who already have a high school diploma or GED and is funded through Mississippi Partnership,  Workforce Investment Board,  and Three Rivers Planning and Development District.

The classes meet from 1 p.m. until 5 p.m. on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. In addition to GED training, students learn various skills to help them in the workforce. There are 17 lessons in areas such as work ethics, punctuality and communication. Then, the center works with local employers to help students secure part-time work. At the end of the program, employers may choose to hire the students full-time. Active students in the C2C program receive a $30 gas card each week, to help with travel to class and work.

Northeast Mississippi Community College offers a number of programs to help those who are seeking to improve their job skills. Career Pathways programs are available at several locations with specialized training in different trades such as welding.

There is no charge for participation in either program in Ripley. They enroll on a monthly basis. For more information, call Randy Michael at 837-1509.

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