Continental Tire partners with Hinds CC to train aspiring engineers

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Sherry Franklin, associate vice president for Career-Technical Education for Hinds Community College’s Rankin Campus, top left, and Zach Morrow, senior project engineer/construction manager for Continental Tire, with Hinds Community College students Samuel Williams, bottom left, and Mack Pope.

Continental Tire has selected four Hinds Community College students to begin the Maintenance Technician Internship Program, a nine-week paid summer program at the company’s Mt. Vernon, Ill., plant.

“Being selected for this internship is truly wonderful,” said Samuel Williams, a 22-year-old industrial maintenance technology student at the Hinds campus in Raymond.

“This is an opportunity for me to get hands-on experience with a major corporation that I can really see myself working with in the near future. This is only the beginning,” he added.

The program offers on-the-job training and a scholarship to cover tuition for the 2017-2018 academic year for Dylan Canant, Florence; Kenneth Anderson, Jackson; Mack Pope, Terry; and Williams, from Jackson. 

Continental launched the Maintenance Technician Internship Program with Hinds in March to offer students professional experience in their field of study. The program also gives Continental an opportunity to develop the skills of local students interested in maintenance technician positions at the future tire plant in Mississippi.

Last November, ground was broken for Continental Tire’s planned 5.2 million square foot industrial facility near Clinton in Hinds County. State and local leaders approved an incentive package worth approximately $600 million in the 2016 legislative session. As part of its deal with Mississippi, Continental agreed to create 2,500 jobs that pay an average of $40,000 per year. The plant is expected to be completed in 2019.

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“The partnership with Hinds Community College allows us to help local students advance their careers and train prospective employees for a key role in our organization,” said T.J. McKinney, director of Human Relations for Continental.

“I’ve been taking things apart since I was five years old, since I got my first screwdriver,” said Mack Pope, 25.

The internship program “is definitely a good opportunity. I’m really looking forward to it,” Pope said.

Maintenance technicians will be some of the first positions filled when hiring begins in the Clinton-based commercial vehicle tire plant in late 2018.