Five new stenographic court reporters to graduate July 29 in Hattiesburg
July 14, 2022
Pearl River Community College’s first class of stenographic court reporters will be honored at a ceremony to be held July 29 at 1 p.m. at the Forrest County Chancery Court at 641 Main Street in Hattiesburg.
Five court reporters will receive certificates for having completed the academic training. They must seek state or national certification, said Twila Jordan-Hoover, former president of the Mississippi Court Reporters Association and an instructor for the program.
new class will begin in August, said Dr. David Collum, Dean of Career and Technical Education at PRCC. Fifteen students were enrolled as of July 12. Enrollment information may be found on the college’s website, www.prcc.edu.
The court reporter training program is designed to respond to an urgent need for well-trained professional stenographers to record, transcribe and create an official record of court proceedings. There is a shortage of certified court reporters, as retirements have outpaced new people coming into the profession. The average age of the court reporters in Mississippi is 55, and 25 percent of the court reporters are between 61 and 70 years old. There are currently 282 licensed court reporters, including 21 who live in surrounding states and have nonresident temporary licenses, said Tracy Graves, Administrator of the Mississippi Board of Certified Court Reporters. There were 375 licensed court reporters more than 10 years ago. That includes official court reporters for all federal and state courts as well as freelance court reporters.
Mississippi Judicial College Director Randy Pierce said, “There remains a critical need for court reporters in Mississippi. For people deciding on a career or perhaps contemplating a career change, this profession is one to consider. Court reporters are vital to the judiciary, and the benefits are fantastic for official court reporters and freelance court reporters.”
Other employment opportunities are available outside the courtroom, with the need for closed captioning in television, movies, sports broadcasting and other venues.
The newly trained court reporters are Jessie "Morgan" Ponder Anglin of Mount Olive, Candace Cooley of Waynesboro, Amanda Barnes Hernandez of Eatonville, Felicia Jackson of Hattiesburg and Alicia Miller of Magee.
Supreme Court Presiding Justice Leslie King, chairman of the Board of Certified Court Reporters, said, “I congratulate them on their upcoming graduation as court reporters. Court reporters are a vital part of the judiciary. I look forward to welcoming each of them as licensed court reporting professionals.”
Tenth Chancery District Senior Chancellor Deborah Gambrell Chambers helped implement the training program. She will preside over the graduation of the inaugural class.
“All of the students have had the opportunity to actually sit in court and do a quasi-internship with local judges,” she said. “Because state and federal judges have allowed them access to the courts, we feel confident that they will immediately fill the voids that currently exist.”
Leaders of the Mississippi Court Reporters Association set plans in motion for a training program about four years ago. Jordan-Hoover and Rose Sanchez, another former Association president, and other court reporters around the state volunteered to provide in-person instruction through a national organization that provides a hybrid online six-week introduction to court reporting. The free program, known as A to Z, gave students an opportunity to learn about a possible career path without investing a lot of time and money.
PRCC agreed to offer classes, becoming the only college program in the state to train court reporters. Classes began in August 2021 at the Hattiesburg campus. Jordan-Hoover, a court reporter for the 10th Chancery Court, and Sanchez, a court reporter for the 15th Circuit Court, taught classes on Friday and Saturday twice a month. The hybrid program also included online classes.
Officers of the Mississippi Court Reporters Association hope to be able to start another training program in the northern part of the state. They are working to find a community college or university willing to add the program to its curriculum.