Student Thomas Capers sands beside instrumentation panel.Thomas Capers of Pass Christian is set to complete the Heavy Equipment Maintenance Technology program at the college’s West Harrison County Center in May.  He already works as an apprentice for a tractor sales and repair business in Poplarville.

“I was active duty with the U.S. Coast Guard for four years and worked at Ingalls Shipbuilding for five years,” he said.  “I have always wanted to complete training in working on heavy equipment, so I decided to study at MGCCC.  It was the best decision I could have made.  We have extensive hands-on training here and that helps me fully understand any subject we are covering.”

When the class began learning essential skills, he said they made a difference in how he approached work.  “The essential skills are implemented daily on our program and began day one,” he said.  “They have helped me be a better listener and a better communicator, which makes a difference on my job and in class.  I’m very pleased with what I’ve gained in preparation for my future career.”

Capers said that another essential skill, punctuality, is something he thought he never had a problem with.  “I learned through our QEP training that punctuality is not just about being on time,” he said. “It’s also about being ready and prepared to begin your workday. It’s about leaving your home problems at home and being ready to do the job. There’s a lot more to these skills than meets the eye and it does make you more successful at work. I think it is so important that MGCCC is providing instruction in these skills so that we are better prepared to go to work.”

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