WEST POINT — Jamie Jackson and Patrick Mobley were both looking for new career paths when they enrolled in East Mississippi Community College’s Carpentry Technology program last August.
Both men will join about 600 other EMCC students who will graduate Friday, May 5, and Saturday, May 6, during ceremonies at the Scooba and Golden Triangle campuses.
Academic and career-technical students from EMCC’s Scooba, Golden Triangle, Columbus Air Force Base, Naval Air Station Meridian, Lion Hills, West Point Center and online/eLearning campuses will participate in the graduation ceremonies.
Jackson, 29, of Jackson, followed his then girlfriend, and now wife, to Starkville while she was enrolled at Mississippi State University. After a few semesters of college he began working locally as a cook.
“I did everything from ice cream, to pizza to Italian pasta,” Jackson said. “I did that for about 10 years and got burned out on it.”
Jackson had always enjoyed working with his hands and often thought fondly of the time he spent as a child helping his grandfather out in his woodshop.
“Somewhere along the time where I got tired of cooking I realized I really enjoy working with my hands,” Jackson said. “I wanted to spend my time creating something that would last for 30 to 40 years and not 30 to 40 minutes. I found this program through Google.”
Mobley too was looking for something different. The Starkville resident spent 22 years in the U.S. Navy as a gunnery’s mate and small arms instructor.
After retiring from the Navy, Mobley earned an Associate’s Degree at EMCC in Automotive Technology.
“I took about a year off from school and decided I wanted to do something different and that is what led me to carpentry,” Mobley said. “Carpentry is one of those trades where you can pretty much go anywhere. There is so many different avenues you can take.”
Both men said they were amazed at all they learned.
“We’ve done everything you can do to build a house,” Jackson said. “We started from the ground up, building foundations, floors, walls and roofs. We worked on the inside, outside and on installation of windows and doors. We touched base on all of it.”
“What I am finding is there is a lot of different aspects to carpentry,” Mobley said. “I didn’t expect that.”
Students in the certificate course are taught how to frame houses and build wood foundations and roof trusses. They also learn to read blueprints and are taught fundamental mathematics needed in carpentry. Classwork also includes projects such as building desks, printer stands or cabinets, to name a few.
The intent of the course is to familiarize students with the tools, methods and terminology used in carpentry so they can get a job in the field.
“One of the projects they worked on was the construction of a mock roof with a gable end on one side and a hip roof on the other,” EMCC Carpentry Technology program instructor Johnny Duren said. “Now they know what a hip roof is and how to cut those hip rafters.
“They know that this little notch on the rafter is called a birdsmouth and that a lookout is a brace that holds your soffit up there. They have learned a lot of the terminology so they won’t be totally green when they go out there.”
Duren said the demand for carpenters dipped about a decade ago when the economy went soft but has now resurged.
“People are looking for carpenters,” Duren said.
Jobs range from new construction, to home repairs and renovations, to cabinet making and woodworking.
“One day, hopefully after a successful framing career, I would like to do some kind of woodworking,” Jackson said. “I would like to make crafts for people but I know that is hard to do straight out of school.”
Mobley said he isn’t sure what type of carpentry he would like to do just yet.
“I know I don’t want to do roofing,” Mobley said. “My wife is afraid I might fall off. I might try framing but not roofing.”
For more information on EMCC’s Carpentry Technology program, call Duren at 662-243-2659 or email him at email@example.com.
EMCC 2017 Spring Commencement Ceremonies
Golden Triangle, West Point, Lion Hills Center and Columbus AFB students
May 5, 2017
10 a.m.: Candidates for Associate of Applied Science degree and Career certificates
2 p.m.: Candidates for Associate of Art degree commencement
Location: Golden Triangle Campus Lyceum/Auditorium
Please contact Registrar Faye Morgan at 662-243-1923 for further information.
Scooba and Meridian Naval Air Station students
May 6, 2017
10 a.m.: All candidates for graduation
Location: Keyes Currie Coliseum on the Scooba campus
Please contact Registrar Melinda Sciple at 662-476-5040 for further information.