PEARL ― Twenty-eight graduates of the Mississippi Construction Education Foundation's apprenticeship program were honored recently for completing training requirements that move them one step closer toward becoming journeymen– the highest level in a trade profession.

MCEF's apprenticeship program is approved by the Department of Labor and prepares craft professionals in eight trades: carpentry, electrical, HVAC, pipefitting, plumbing, sheet metal, welding and interior finish. Students must work for an approved employer to be accepted into the four-year program, which includes a total of 576 hours of classroom instruction and 8,000 on-the-job training hours. Students work during the day and take classes at night.

"Construction companies throughout the country, as well as here in Mississippi, are gearing up to hire more workers ― if only they can find them," said Mike Barkett, president of MCEF. "This shortage of skilled labor is having a negative impact on the construction industry and causing the loss of millions of jobs each year. MCEF is working to address this crisis by encouraging interest in technical-based careers and providing training, resources and recognition to help build a ready workforce for Mississippi."

In addition to increased job skills and pay, graduates can take apprentice certificates to a community college and earn up to 32 academic credit hours toward an associate degree.

Graduates were honored May 7 during a graduation and awards ceremony hosted by MCEF in Pearl. Also recognized were students with perfect attendance along with outstanding students chosen based on attitude, GPA and class involvement.

Graduating from MCEF’s apprenticeship program were:

• Bailey Allred of Braxton, employed by Synergy Electric
• Haden Anderson of Florence, employed by Environment Masters
• Daniel Banks of Jackson, employed by ADCO Electric
• Eric Barthel of Lena, employed by J.L. Roberts
• Steven Barthel of Lena, employed by Buford Plumbing
• Dustin Barnett of Florence, employed by Synergy Electric
• Jacob Bishop of Long Beach, employed by Bernhard MCC – MS
• Christopher Blakeney of Taylorsville, employed by Synergy Electric
• Bryan Boudreaux of Pearl, employed by Climate Masters
• Michael Bradley of New Albany, employed by Upchurch Plumbing
• Tyler Britt of Richland, employed by ADCO Electric
• Tyler Dewey of Bay Springs, employed by Synergy Electric
• Derek Jones of Yazoo City, employed by J.L. Roberts
• David Lambert of Nesbit, employed by Whitfield Electric
• Joshua Luby of Brandon, employed by Synergy Electric
• Andrew McGee of Florence, employed by H&H Electric
• Thomas McKissack of Mize, independent contractor
• Dominic Morgan, Jr. of Ridgeland, employed by Moses Jackson
• Quentin Murrell of Petal, employed by Total Electric
• Aaron Nowatka of Hernando, employed by Whitfield Electric
• Levi O’Neal of Sarah, employed by Whitfield Electric
• Taylor Ross of Sarah, employed by Whitfield Electric
• Dameon Smith of Jackson, employed by Moses Jackson
• Jonathan Smith of Richland, employed by Moses Jackson
• Bret Steiner of Long Beach, employed by Bernhard MCC – MS
• Sean Story of Richland, employed by Moses Jackson
• Dustin Swanson of Sarah, employed by Whitfield Electric
• Anthony Thompson of Vancleave, employed by JEM Mechanical

MCEF is a non-profit educational foundation that provides NCCER craft training and credentialing in more than 100 career and technical programs across the state. The foundation’s mission is to train individuals for the construction and manufacturing industries in Mississippi.

MCEF also offers workforce training and credentialing in construction, industrial maintenance and manufacturing trades. Learn more about MCEF at