Russell-Smith named District Director of Adult Education/GED

Pictured is Holmes Workforce Coordinator and WIOA Director Earline Russell-Smith who was recently named district director of Adult Education/GED.

Holmes Community College Workforce Coordinator and Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) Director Earline Russell-Smith was recently named district director of Adult Education/GED for the college.

"With all the changes in Adult Basic Educated mandated by changes in federal workforce legislation, I believe that Earline's experience with the Workforce Investment system in Mississippi will be invaluable in this time of transition," said Vice President of Workforce Development Dr. Mike Blankenship. "Earline also brings a desire to help people which is very important with the population served through Adult Basic Education."

Russell-Smith has worked with the Federal Workforce programs and Workforce Development since 1999. She also served as Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) grant coordinator for the college. Holmes is one of five community colleges in the state participating in the grant program, which has given more than 3,000 SNAP (formerly called food stamps) recipients the opportunity to receive training and get a degree as part of a three-year pilot program. Russell-Smith increased the number of students obtaining financial aid grants for the college through WIOA and SNAPS, and SNAPS grant enrollment has doubled from the previous years.

Russell-Smith has also coordinated and promoted workforce training classes for the Yazoo Educational Center, Attala Center and Goodman Campus. She evaluated instructor's performances and the effectiveness of training programs, making recommendations to ensure all training needs were met.

Additionally, Russell-Smith served on the Work Ready Community Board for Holmes and Attala County, and prepared and managed workforce projects - including budgets - through the Mississippi Community College Board accountability system. She is also responsible for designing and implementing the Youth Workforce Academy, which engaged at-risk youth with soft skills and work experience to improve their employability. The program was used as a model for other youth programs in the Delta area.

"I'm excited that Earline is joining the Adult Education team as our District Director!" said Career Path Specialist Bronwyn Robertson. "It's as though she's been a part of us all along and this only makes it official. I have always found her to consistently exceed expectations in her interpersonal skills, support of staff and work ethic. I've had the opportunity to work with Earline on several projects and I also know her personally; she never fails to impress me with her positive attitude and encouragement. I am delighted that I'll be working with her again."

Prior to her employment with Holmes in July 2005, she worked as a workforce specialist with the Mississippi Department of Employment Security and as an educator with Chicago public schools.

A native of the Acona Community in Lexington, Russell-Smith currently resides in Coila. She earned her bachelor's degree in education from Jackson State University and her master's in education from Capella University. Russell-Smith is a member of Steele Chapel Independent Methodist Church where she serves as choir director and a youth leader. She and her husband, Holmes alumnus Prentiss Smith, have three children: Prentiss Jr., Trentiss and Erin. Prentiss Jr. is also a Holmes alum, Trentiss is a senior at J.Z. George High School and Erin is in eighth grade at George Middle.

For more information about the Holmes Adult Education/GED program, contact Russell-Smith at esmith@holmescc.edu or (662) 472.9105.

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IN THIS PHOTO: Pictured is Holmes Workforce Coordinator and WIOA Director Earline Russell-Smith who was recently named district director of Adult Education/GED.