Jackson County Industry Leaders Celebrate Successful Apprenticeships

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PASCAGOULA, Mississippi (WLOX) – With the end of National Apprenticeship Week, Jackson County industry leaders wanted to celebrate their recent efforts to bring more skilled people into the local workforce.

Officials from the manufacturing, healthcare, education and hospitality sectors gathered for a special lunch at Café Bridge.

“Young people learn by doing,” said Ryan Miller, executive director of Accelerate Mississippi. “The students you see in this culinary program room are prime examples and benefit from it.”

The makeshift restaurant is located in the College & Career Technical Institute. The waiters and cooks are high school students eager to learn the trade.

“When you see young people doing professional work, it warms your heart,” said Paige Roberts, president and CEO of the Jackson County Chamber of Commerce. “That’s really what makes the difference here in Jackson County.”

The hungry crowd was made up of people who invest in young people’s careers through work experiences.

For young adults, Jackson County offers Department of Labor apprenticeships through Halter Marine, Rolls-Royce Naval Marine, Ingalls Shipbuilding, and Singing River Health System.

For high school students, there is the workforce development program, P3: PASSION. GOAL. PAY CHECK.

“We’re not just looking at today’s workforce, but this talent pool that will fill the jobs of the future,” said Mary Martha Henson, deputy director of the Jackson County Economic Development Foundation.

The group spoke about their current plans to enable more people to earn while they learn, and future ideas for getting people into careers in demand.

“This is where it is when it comes to workforce development for the future of Mississippi,” said Deano Harrison, System Workforce Development Specialist. Singing River Health.

While the lunch was a way to celebrate efforts to bring more skilled people into the workforce, it was also an opportunity for industry leaders to reflect on ways to keep young Mississippians in the workforce. ‘State.

“I always said to young people, ‘Invest in your state’. I know there are opportunities elsewhere. I am not trying to dissuade a young person from looking for studies or employment opportunities elsewhere. But consider the opportunity you have to invest in your home country, ”Miller said.

This is a message that Jackson County employers want to stress with so many large companies operating in the area.

“Jackson County’s economy is not only important to the Mississippi Gulf Coast, it is also important to the state of Mississippi. It’s important to the nation, ”Henson said.

And whether high schoolers choose to continue their education or acquire a trade after graduation, officials hope they will see the benefits of digging roots in Magnolia State.

“Look at all the options you have. Think about college, community college, vocational training. There is neither plan A nor plan B. They are all planes A. Consider that. Weigh that, ”Miller said.

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