Internships gives PRCC students real-world experience

POPLARVILLE - An internship program through Pearl River Community College has two students already seeing the benefits of the degrees they will soon receive.

Cierra Plaisance and Hannah Rester, both of Carriere, work part-time at the Hancock County Port and Harbor Commission while finishing the requirements to complete the business management technology program.

“We started off as interns,” Plaisance said. “Then they hired us as temporary employees.”

The internship program is funded by the federal Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act through the Southern Mississippi Planning and Development District.

Plaisance and Rester will receive their Associate in Applied Science degrees on May 11 and go back to work.

“They’re actually going to keep us until June,” Rester said. She is working as an administrative assistant while Plaisance is working with economic development marketing.

No permanent jobs are open right now but the women will be at the top of the list when one or more becomes available. Both think the intermship program is the only reason they already have real-world work experience in their field.

“We would probably still be working minimum wage jobs in a retail store,” Rester said.

PRCC has two more students working as interns for NASA at the Stennis Space Center through the same program.

Cierra Plaisance, left, and Hannah Rester, both of Picayune, work part-time at the Hancock County Port and Harbor Commission after completing internships there.

Alex Hernandez and Brittany McLaurin, both of Picayune, are working as interns for NASA at the Stennis Space Center

Alex Hernandez of Picayune works in human resources services processing forms for incoming employees.

“It’s been a new experience,” he said. “I’m used to basic jobs - I’m a server full time.”

The job is teaching him new professional skills, he said.

“I’m learning life lessons, too,” he said.

The internship lasts for 12 weeks, and Hernandez doesn’t know if he will be hired when it ends.

“I think they’ve put enough time and resources into me that they’ll hire me, but nothing’s definite,” he said.

Brittany McLaurin of Picayune also is working at NASA while in school. She also is working in human resources but is formatting and editing documents and assisting technical writers.

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