Pearl River Community College to Build Hancock Aviation Aerospace Workforce Academy

Courtesy of Hancock County Port and Harbor Commission

The Hancock Aviation Aerospace Workforce Academy is due to open for classes in August 2024.

Pearl River Community College (PRCC) broke ground on the Hancock Aviation Aerospace Workforce Academy adjacent to Stennis International Airport and the Hancock High School Career & Technical Center. The 36,000 square foot training center will include an 18,000 square foot hangar to provide skilled workforce development for aviation and aerospace industries.

“After years of effort and support across multiple administrations and local, state and federal partners, we are excited to see construction begin at Stennis International Airport on Pearl River Community College’s Workforce Academy,” says Blaine LaFontaine, CEO of the Hancock County Port and Harbor Commission (HCPHC). “This institution and its training programs will serve our existing and future industries, creating opportunities for our regional workforce.”

HCPHC’s Aviation and Aerospace Cluster Optimization Plan, presented by the research and economic development efforts of the VisionFirst Advisors, estimates a demand of 582 aerospace related jobs. As Stennis International Airport expands its capacity to bring more aerospace, aviation and other industry clients to Hancock County, the partnership with PRCC will be essential to meeting the growing workforce demand.

“We are grateful for the overwhelming support provided by our federal, state and local delegation, as well as our business and organization partnerships,” PRCC President Dr. Adam Breerwood says. “This academy will serve as an economic engine for the entire region. Our goal is to provide premier educational and workforce development opportunities necessary to train our workforce to compete in a global market.”

The construction of the $9,421,500 academy started February 1, 2023, and is projected to be completed in June 2024, with classes starting August 2024. Funding for the Academy comes through the Mississippi Legislature, a RESTORE Act Grant, an EDA Disaster Supplemental Grant, Gulf Coast Restoration Funds and a Coast Electric Power Association Grant. The $2,475,000 hangar is funded by the Legislature, a RESTORE Act Grant and a Coast Electric Power Association Grant.

The PRCC Hancock Aviation Aerospace Workforce Academy will be designed to be multi-functional and versatile to fit the evolving needs and growth in Hancock County, so that we can remain on the forefront for research and innovative technologies in Hancock County and surrounding areas.