Special to The Star
The Meridian Star
Imagine walking into work at the beginning of each week not knowing if there would be enough manual labor for you to get paid for a 40-hour work week.
How would you be able to financially provide for your family? Pay for groceries? Pay for daycare? Sound like an unnerving situation? Meet Kelvin King.
Having worked in the manufacturing field since 2004, King began to notice that companies he had worked for in the past and the one he currently worked for all had a common resemblance: The amount of work needed for someone in his position, with his skill level was very inconsistent.
“I would work tons of overtime three months out of the year, and then the next six months I would barely work 20 hours a week,” King said. “There is a huge difference in salary when you go from 60 hours a week to 20 hours a week, especially when you add a wife and two kids to the mix.”
King had noticed in previous jobs and even while working at Avery Dennison, that the guys who worked in upper level maintenance positions always seemed to have an ongoing work load.
“Those guys were constantly busy,” King said. “They had enough work to fill 40 hour work weeks year round.”
Realizing that he needed a job that would provide a constant work load to support his family, King knew that he needed to learn the necessary skills required to get a top level maintenance job.
King’s drive and determination led him to Meridian Community College, where he decided to enroll in the Industrial Maintenance Program. As King progressed through the two-year program, because of his classes at MCC and his new skills King received a promotion to an upper level maintenance position.
“I’ve advanced a lot from the classes I have taken at MCC from when I first started to when I finished,” he said. “Going through the Industrial Maintenance program advanced me through my field and my career.”
While enrolled in the program, King received the Industrial Maintenance Technician Award, which is presented to only one student in the two-year program.
King currently works at Nissan in Tupelo, where his job duties include maintaining machinery, hydraulics, checking machines, troubleshooting mechanical problems, and working with new installations.
“The materials we used in class are real, the same machines I work on at my current job,” King said.
MCC also offers OSHA training in its programs.
“My employer was impressed I had hands-on training and already went through OSHA training. It helped me get my job,” King said.
He gives a lot of credit to MCC instructors Stanley Bishop and Richard Barlow, saying, “The instructors don’t just teach from the textbook, they actually have hands on experience in the industry.”
“At previous schools, I was trying to make the material make sense to me. But at MCC, I was learning electricity from an actual electrician, who has 30 years experience in the field," King said.
"To me it didn’t matter what the book said, Stanley knows this, because he’s done this, he’s worked in the industry. It’s not like he’s reading a book and telling me to do this, he actually knows exactly what he is doing because he has been there. He has the experience and he is well qualified.," he said.
"MCC got me into a career where I am advancing and the demand for people in my job are high. I’m no longer wondering will next week be a 20-hour week or a 30-hour week. I know I have a stable job and I know I can support my family on a consistent basis," said King, who resides in Tupelo with his wife, Stephanie, and two little girls, Kendle and Karina.
The MCC Workforce Development program is located in Webb Hall and provides workforce training to citizens of Meridian and Lauderdale County. Training is conducted in accordance with the Workforce Education Project Policies as developed by the Mississippi Community College Board.
To learn more about training programs offered through MCC’s Workforce Development call (601) 482-7445 or visit www.meridiancc.edu/webbcenter