PELAHATCHIE, Miss. (WJTV) — Multicraft is teaming up with Pelahatchie High School for a new program that should benefit both institutions.

For centuries, manufacturing has played a vital role in the American economy. With innovation happening faster than ever, well-trained workers will be at a premium for the foreseeable future. Pelahatchie High School has a plan to meet the changing demands of the workforce.

These Pelahatchie High School students have volunteered to take part in 2 a year program that, when completed, will earn them an Industrial Maintenance Technology Certificate.

“It’s pretty fun, I mean, there’s much to learn. Like I said, we’ve only been through safety culture, but I see myself going through more,” said Sophomore Gage Smith.

That will include skills like gage measuring and precision machining.

Dr. Bryan Marshall is the Principal of Pelahatchie High School.

“We hope that all of our kids will qualify for dual credit opportunities within the field of industrial maintenance and manufacturing. The Rankin County School District funds the project and found a willing partner in Multicraft International. Multicraft makes electric and electromechanical components. It provides material and time on the factory floor.

Brad Williams is President of Multicraft International. He says, “We still encourage them to go to college with the curriculums they have in place, but if for some reason they are not able to go to college, then they can be introduced to the workforce at a skill level that’s more advanced than just a normal high school degree.”

There is also plenty of room for new ideas at Multicraft’s freshly renovated Ventures Facility. In a setting that feels more Silicon Valley than central Mississippi, inventors and entrepreneurs can develop their ideas for market. Eventually, students will pitch their ideas here.

Sophomore Gregory Beemon says, “I’ve been thinking lately about new technology and tools and how to create new things.”

Multicraft President Brad Williams adds, “Our goal is maybe to take some of those products to market, and that would be a great success story for us both, both for the students and our company as well.”

Multicraft will also sponsor paid internships during the students Senior year and a work-study program during the Summer. They see it as a great way to invest in their community and train the workforce of tomorrow.

Right now, only sophomores and juniors are in the program, but there are about 50 students involved in precursor programs in younger grades.

Pelahatchie hopes to grow the program and team up with other local employers. Education is good for business.