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Hinds CC students recognized for Johns Manville apprenticeship



RICHLAND – Two Hinds Community College students received free tuition toward career certificates through a Hinds-sponsored Production Technologist registered apprenticeship with Johns Manville in Richland.

 Ryshun Watts of Ridgeland and John Toney of Mendenhall completed the year-long apprenticeship program and chose to continue another semester to earn technical certificates. The technical certificates are in addition to the apprenticeship program, but Johns Manville approved their request and has continued to pay for their education. Both Watts and Toney are on track to graduate from Hinds in May.

 Johns Manville manufactures insulation, commercial roofing and other products for commercial, industrial and residential use.

Source: Hinds Co. CC

 “This is the first time we developed the program for our Richland plant,” said Holly Gisman, Johns Manville Human Resources Manager. “We were looking to extend our maintenance program. As we have people getting ready to retire, we want to make sure that we have some employees that we can bring into a new career path to help develop and grow and transfer that knowledge from those who are more experienced.”

 Gisman said the apprenticeship was based on a 40-hour week, with 15 hours of class time included as part of the hours. The remainder of the hours not spent in courses were at the Richland Johns Manville plant. “They received their on-the-job training and mentorship there,” she said.

 Josh Bower, Dean of Agriculture and Transportation/Director of Talent, Workforce & Economic Development, said Johns Manville is using the apprenticeship to truly invest in their current workforce. “It is very rare for a company to continue paying apprentices their full wage for hours spent in the classroom. The management team at Johns Manville is thinking progressively of how they can reward and retain existing employees that have shown growth potential and are dedicated to the company,” he said.

 “This is a great opportunity,” Watts said. “I’m grateful for it. It was a lot of hands-on training, a little bit of everything – electrical to mechanical even robotics.”

 Toney said he plans to stay at Johns Manville and move up the ranks. The apprenticeship was “fantastic. It’s been a huge learning process. This was something that was important to me, to get more education and also do some on-the-job training.”

 Brenda Myers, Mississippi state director in the Office of Apprenticeship at the U.S. Department of Labor, said apprenticeships can lead to stable, high-paying careers. “We don’t want to produce turnovers. We want them to be settled and enjoy progress, move up in the company. Johns Manville is a great company,” she said.

 During the apprenticeship completion certificate ceremony, Watts was also honored with a plaque for Outstanding Student 2023-2024 for the Construction and Manufacturing pathway by his instructors David Roberts and Glenn Teele. Watts was nominated by his instructors and selected for this honor from all the Construction and Manufacturing students attending Hinds at the various campuses.

 Hinds has a Mississippi Apprenticeship Program grant through the Mississippi Department of Employment Security and the U.S. Department of Labor. The grant has helped support registered apprenticeship programs sponsored by Hinds Community College. 

 With six campuses in central Mississippi, Hinds Community College is a comprehensive institution offering quality, affordable educational opportunities with academic programs of study leading to seamless university transfer and career and technical programs teaching job-ready skills.

Our Mission: Hinds Community College is committed to moving people and communities forward by helping develop their purpose, passion and profession.

 Our Vision: Hinds Community College will be a catalyst to create a competitive economy and a compelling culture for Mississippi.

 Our Values: Hinds Community College aspires to the following IDEALSIntegrity, Diversity, Excellence, Accountability, Leadership, Stewardship.

To learn more, visit or call 1.800.HindsCC.

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