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Employment Experts Look for Improvements in Workforce Training

By Jeffrey Hess | Published 08 Dec 2011 07:04pm | comments
Emily DeRocco

Mississippi is tied forthe third highest unemployment rate in the country, and employment experts believe workforce training can help reduce that number. MPB's Jeffrey Hess reports that workforce development agencies from around Mississippi are looking for ways to improve the quality of the state's workforce training.

Dozens of development agencies gathered in Jackson Thursday to find ways to improve the training for Mississippians.

Emily DeRocco with the Manufacturing Institute says the recession has fundamentally changed the employment market, putting greater pressure on adults to expand their skill set to find new work.

"For workers who today are experiencing all the trauma of unemployment, transition from job to job, and the volatility in an economy that isn't going to stabilize from some time to come. Workers need to be concerned about having the right skills now for the high-quality middle class jobs that are available," DeRocco said.

DeRocco says community colleges and other workforce training sites should work more closely with employers to make sure the training they are giving will lead to jobs.

But Bill Crawford, the president of the Montgomery Institute...a workforce development agency working in eastern Mississippi..... says it can be a difficulty to get potential employers to accept the training that some people are getting.

"That is the challenge is for the local industry to value these things and see how it can help them benefit as the migrate to more modern manufactoring process and integrate more modern technology," Crawford said.

One way to ease that concern is to adopt standardized training processes, approved by national trade groups.

Jay Moon with the Mississippi Manufacturers Association says that will let employers know the training is reliable.

"They get a certificate, much like a CPA would, and they can go anywhere in the country and the employer automatically recognizes the quality and the level of the training. That's valuable in the work place," Moon said.

Moon says some Mississippi industries have already accepted nationally recognized credentials and he expects more Mississippi training organizations and companies to adopt the standards.

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Emily DeRocco


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