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2nd Chance MS receives $30,000 grant from Women’s Foundation

An Oxford-based non-profit will continue to do some good around Mississippi after being awarded a grant.

2nd Chance MS, a nonprofit organization that works to raise awareness and funds to support adult education and workforce training, has received $30,000 from the Women’s Foundation of Mississippi. The nonprofit was one of 11 organizations in Mississippi to be chosen for grants in 2018.

The grant will allow 2nd Chance MS to begin an educational program at Meridian Community College in Meridian, Miss., that will provide training for women and early childhood education for their children.

“We are making this a two-generation program,” 2nd Chance MS Executive Director Zach Scruggs said. “We are going to help women obtain workforce certification while also providing early learning, Pre-K education for their children.”

The program is the second that the organization has begun in Mississippi via a grant from the Women’s Foundation. The first program – based at Coahoma Community College in Clarksdale, Miss. – began after 2nd Chance MS was awarded a $50,000 grant in 2017.

“(The Coahoma) program was designed to incentivize lower income females to get their nursing certifications because nursing is a highly employable, high-demand skill and profession,” Scruggs said. “So we set up a program to incentivize and support females to go get their nursing certification.”

The Coahoma program began in Fall 2017 and thus far has seen 30 women obtain their nursing certification.

Currently, 2nd Chance MS has major programs installed at eight of Mississippi’s 15 community colleges and three smaller programs at Hinds Community College, Mississippi Delta Community College and East Mississippi Community College.

“The most logical and convenient place for many adults to go back to school or get their high school equivalency are their local community colleges,” Scruggs said. “What we do is try to support and incentivize the hard working adults that are going to do that, to help them get through these programs and succeed. There are a lot of barriers that particularly a low-income adult who, whether they were a high school drop out or not, are going to encounter while trying to attend classes. …So, 2nd Chance’s mission is to kind of help alleviate or remove some of those barriers so the adult can have a chance and the support they need to get through these programs. Once they get their high school equivalency or workforce certification then there are a lot of available jobs out there. Mississippi’s biggest problem is having an educated, skilled workforce to fill those jobs.”

Since 2016, 2nd Chance MS has provided support to over 400 Mississippians to help them obtain either their high school equivalency or various types of workforce certification.

In Lafayette County, the organization also works with the Lafayette County Literacy Council to provide adult education training.

2nd Chance has also had several conversations with Northwest Mississippi Community College about beginning a program, though the time hasn’t been right just yet, Scruggs said.

“Our programs are kind of all over the state, we kind of go where the need is and build these programs up,” Scruggs said. “It’s not through lack of interest (from anyone), just that we are going where the greatest needs are. Our ultimate goal will be to have programs at every community college in the state.”

For more information on 2nd Chance MS, visit http://2ndChanceMS.org.