MGCCC ranked nationally in top associate degree producers

Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College has again been named a top associate degree producer in the nation, with 2,087 degrees awarded in 2015.  This is the 13th time since 2002 that MGCCC has been named in the top 100, and it is the only community college in Mississippi, Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana and Tennessee to make the overall list, a singular designation the college has received 11 times.

Community College Week, an educational magazine, ranked the college at No. 68 in the nation overall, with the college moving up from 85th in 2015.  The ranking is based on the number of degrees awarded to students from the country’s 1,300 community colleges.  The college was also ranked seventh in education majors, ninth in engineering technology and engineering-related field majors, 10th in two-year certificates, 44th in non-minority graduates, 47th in family and consumer sciences/human sciences majors, and 51st in African-American graduates.

“Degree completion positively impacts our students as they enter the workforce or continue their education, and ensures the economic well-being of the communities in our district,” said Dr. Mary S. Graham, MGCCC president.  “Continuing to rank so highly in the number of students who graduate is a significant accomplishment for the college.”

Graham said the college is committed to giving students the best possible opportunities for success and making its communities more resilient.  Degree completion, employability skills and training in high-demand fields are all part of doing that.  “The college is participating in a number of programs at the national level,” she said.  “These programs, as well as other innovative things we are doing at the college, are all part of us pushing the needle forward.”

The national programs in which MGCCC is participating include one that is funded through a $4 million RESTORE Act grant.  It allows MGCCC to operate the Mississippi Gulf Coast Work-Ready Community Program. During the next four years, MGCCC will aid coastal citizens in the attainment of basic skills, employability skills and specific industry skills that are needed in high-demand industry sectors.

Another program the college has undertaken is the Right Signals Initiative. As one of only 20 colleges in the nation to participate in the program, MGCCC will highlight its workforce, career and technical credentialing on a national scene over the next several months with the goal of creating a national system of recognizable credentials that is beneficial to students as they take varied and new paths to acquiring knowledge and skills that employers value. Additionally, MGCCC is one of only 44 postsecondary institutions invited to participate in an experiment that, for the first time, allows high school students taking college-credit courses to access federal Pell grants. MGCCC is one of only two institutions in Mississippi chosen to participate in the pilot program and is the only state community college chosen.

“MGCCC continues to offer the best educational and training opportunities for the residents of George, Jackson, Harrison and Stone counties,” Graham said. “We think our communities and our students are the very best, and we want to help make them even better.”

Kathy McAdams is an award-winning journalist who has worked at weekly newspapers in Mississippi and the Press-Register in Mobile, Ala. A native of Gulfport, McAdams attended Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College, William Carey University, the University of South Alabama and The University of Southern Mississippi. She has a Bachelor of Arts degree in communications and journalism and a master's degree in education and English. She has worked at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College since 2005.