East Mississippi Community College’s received a $50,000 donation from 2nd Chance MS for the SOAR Program offered through the college’s Adult Education Launch Pad. Pictured at a ceremonial check presentation are, from left, EMCC Adult Education Launch Pad Assistant Director/Transition Specialist Mary Ann Latham, EMCC Vice President for Workforce and Community Services Dr. Raj Shaunak, 2nd Chance MS Director of Development Catti Beals, EMCC President Dr. Scott Alsobrooks, 2nd Chance MS Executive Director Zach Scruggs, EMCC Workforce Community Outreach Program Director Sha’Carla Petty, and EMCC Adult Education Launch Pad Director Dr. O’Neil Wright.

June 3, 2019

East Mississippi Community College recently received a $50,000 check from 2nd Chance MS to support the adult education SOAR Program. 

Oxford-based 2nd Chance MS is a foundation devoted to promoting educational and training attainment and funding initiatives related to adult education and workforce training.

The foundation, founded by Dickie Scruggs, a former Mississippi trial lawyer, was inspired by Scruggs’ own experience in federal prison. As an inmate, Scruggs taught GED classes to other inmates, which he describes as one of the most rewarding experiences of his life. Through teaching GED classes, Scruggs got to see first-hand the difference a high school equivalency diploma can make in terms of an individual’s economic opportunity, self-concept, and civic mindedness.

Several years later, Scruggs heard an interesting broadcast on MPB Radio detailing the work many Mississippi community colleges were doing in the areas of workforce development and adult basic education. Motivated by his personal belief that most people are “only one flat tire away from dropping out of school,” Scruggs called MPB to see how to get involved. 2nd Chance MS emerged from Scruggs’ deep commitment to closing the education gap for individuals who lack a high school diploma.

2nd Chance MS now partners with community colleges across the state to provide funds to support adult education programs. These funds typically provide student completion incentives and offset any financial burden the student may experience while working towards diploma completion. The Skills through Opportunities, Access, and Resources (SOAR) Program offered through the Launch Pad at East Mississippi Community College was a perfect match for 2nd Chance MS.

According to Workforce Community Outreach Program Director Sha’Carla Petty, “The SOAR Program is focused on helping High School Equivalent (HSE) students succeed by mitigating barriers to their success such as transportation and even meals and incentivizing their completion. We want students to focus on their goal to attain their HSE without distractions and the SOAR Program is put in place to help them do just that.”

The SOAR Program not only supports students as they work to obtain their HSE, it also provides students with tangible work skills and the National Career-Readiness Certificate through ACT WorkKeys. Similarly, students are provided with access to additional training pathways and work experience upon completion of the HSE. 

EMCC Vice President for Workforce and Community Services Dr. Raj Shaunak said, “We must provide hope, opportunity, and a second chance to those who have shown the aptitude and attitude to successfully enter the workforce.” The SOAR Programs seeks to do just that.

For more information on the SOAR Program, please call the Launch Pad Office at 662.243.1985.