Job training program says local job market improving


There’s  good news concerning the coast job market. For more than a year, Mississippi Trained and Ready has been providing job training, paid internships, and GED classes for local residents unable to find employment. The program manager said the staff is having an easier time now getting people jobs than a year ago.

The hospitality students used a role playing exercise to learn what a hotel desk clerk should do and should not do while dealing with difficult guests. The students say the feedback they get from their instructors is invaluable.

“They send them on interviews,”said student Lizzie Martin. “They tell them the rights and wrongs that they’ve done once they don’t get the job. Then they send them on other job interviews so they can get the job the next time. ”

Mississippi Trained and Ready has a paid internship program that puts students to work at local businesses.

Kyla Gutierrez is the Program Manager. “It is of zero cost to the employer, which is fantastic for them. A lot of people can’t afford to hire on new staff right now even though there are tons of people that need a job. We’re kind of that middle ground. ”

Gutierrez says many of the students are interning at coast casinos and she’s seeing a upswing in the job market.

“The turnaround is finally starting to happen here on the coast. Our hospitality industry especially,” Gutierrez said.”Quite frankly, a lot of them are getting full time jobs. It’s a wonderful thing. They’re proving themselves through their 160 hours and getting jobs. So that wasn’t necessarily happening in the beginning that the work experience was leading to full time positions but it is now. ”

The goal here is not only help people get the job but also teach them how to keep it.

“That’s everything from dependability, how to interact with others, how to interact with your supervisors,” Gutierrez said. “The process that you need to go through to be a lasting stable employee. We’re not trying to find people temporary jobs and things like that. Everybody will take a paycheck if they can get it but we’d like to get them in lasting stable employment.”

Mississippi Trained and Ready is open to unemployed residents living on the coast when Hurricane Katrina struck. The program is not income based.  Officials say people who earn their GED receive payment.

For more information, call (228) 863-8005.

By Danielle Thomas

WLOX- ch 13


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