ECCC relocates machining program to Neshoba Central

Image of Precision Machine Ribbon Cutting

Dr. Brent Gregory, ECCC President; Donald "Mutt" Hardin, Precision Manufacturing & Machining Technology Instructor; Dr. Lundy Brantley, NCSD Superintendent

By Debbie Burt Myers

The new Precision Manufacturing & Machining Technology Program on the Neshoba Central High School campus officially opened Thursday morning with a ribbon cutting.

The program relocated from the East Central Community College campus to the Neshoba Central Manufacturing and Innovation Center in a unique partnership between the school district and the community college.

Neshoba County Superintendent of Education Lundy Brantley called the newly formed partnership a win-win for Neshoba Central and ECCC.

“Under the partnership, we take care of the facility and ECCC provides an instructor and the materials for the class,” he said. “It’s a big win for us as we can let high school seniors into this program as a dual credit while still going to school.”

ECCC President Dr. Brent Gregory said the partnership “is an important sharing of resources between the two schools and allows East Central Community College to move a Career and Technical Education program that is pivotal to providing employees to local industries to an area that is centrally located in relation to our five-county district.” This is the first time ECCC has offered a complete academic program outside of the main Decatur campus, he said.


“Doing so opens up educational opportunities for both college and K-12 level students,” Dr. Gregory said.


“East Central Community College’s mission is centered around serving our five-county district of Leake, Neshoba, Newton, Scott and Winston counties and we are excited to continue to fulfill that mission by partnering with the Neshoba County School District on this Precision Manufacturing and Machining Technology program.”


The instructional program prepares individuals to shape metal parts on machines such as lathes, grinders, drill presses and milling machines.

Instructions include making computations related to work dimensions, testing, feeds and speeds of machines, using precision measuring instruments such as layout metals and laying out machine parts.

Also included is instruction in the operation and maintenance of computer equipment.

All graduating students will take tests and earn Career Readiness Certificates.

Students completing the career and technical program will have an opportunity to earn the National Institute for Metal Working Skills Credential Level I.

These credentials are in addition to the certificate and/or the associate of applied science degree the students receive.

“The program will be Mondays and Wednesdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and Tuesdays and Thursdays from 8 a.m. to 2:45 p.m.,” Dana McLain, Neshoba Central’s Work-based Learning Program Coordinator, said.

 “The students return to school on Friday mornings for extra help or to finish a project.”

The program is being taught by Donald “Mutt” Hardin.

Dr. Brantley said students will complete the program by the end of May and “will be able to go into the workforce immediately. I can tell you, they can get a job immediately in Philadelphia if they want one.”

Hardin said there were many opportunities for the students if they choose to enter the workforce after completing the program.

“Jobs are readily available,” he said.

He worked almost 29 years in the industry, first for Turn-Tech and then for Taylor Machine after it purchased the company in 1998.

He was employed as a Computer and Numerical Control programmer.

Graduates of his program could seek jobs as CNC programmers or manual machinists, he said.

“The state curriculum requires us to teach manual machine,” Hardin said.

Brantley said the Neshoba County School District used about $410,000 in ESSER 3 funds to remodel the lab where the program will be housed and other federal monies to purchase about $218,000 for equipment.

The lab is in the former chorus room and old cafeteria annex, now a part of the innovation and manufacturing center.

Brantley said the program is ideal for seniors who only need two or three classes to graduate. Those classes can be taken online.

They can still have extra-curricular activities. They can even play sports.

Brantley said East Central’s goal was to increase enrollment.

“To relocate to Neshoba County where there are 29,000 people allows a much better chance to fill the class up,” he said. “It is full now. It is open to any kid in the five-county district as well as any adult who would like to enroll.”

Being in close proximately to such major industries as Taylor Machine, W. G. Yates & Sons Construction Company, Weyerhaeuser and McLain Plumbing is also a plus, he said.

“Our agreement is that we open it up to our high school seniors,” Brantley said. “We are hoping for two to three every year. I know that doesn’t sound like a lot, but the trick is, that a senior can’t have six classes left to do this. It is a difficult class.”