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Some College Grads Leave Mississippi To Put Their Education To Work

By Rhonda Miller | Published 13 May 2011 10:08am | comments

College commencement exercises mean a new batch of educated workers emerging across Mississippi. However, MPB’s Rhonda Miller reports some graduates are leaving the state for job opportunities.

In cap and gown, excited graduates at the University of Southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg take the walk that will give them their diplomas and good start on a career.

Commencement speaker Ray Mabus is Secretary of the Navy and a former Mississippi governor.

"There’s nothing wrong with making money, and a lot right with looking after your family and doing well in your chosen profession," Mabus said. " But that’s not what people look back on in life. People look back on the service they gave, whether it’s on a mission trip building a hospital or teaching."

Southern Miss graduate Camille Ballentine is from Batesville. "I have a job in Gulfport at the high school there," Bates said. She’s just moving from the northern part of the state to the Gulf Coast to take a job as a Spanish teacher.

But her fellow graduate, Gianni Reid, is not planning to use her Mississippi education in state.

"I plan to move to Mobile and possibly get a job there, teaching in the public school, preferably high school, dance education. I feel like there's not enough opportunities for dance educators here in Mississippi," Reid said.

As for Mississippi’s low rankings in quality of education and the state’s unemployment rate of about 10 percent, Navy Secretary Mabus said the state has to pay more attention to both.

"Those two things are inextricably linked," Mabus said. "Jobs follow education. You've got to have places like Southern and the other great universities we have in Mississippi. But you’ve also got to work very hard, starting in early childhood."

Mabus said state leaders have to make sure all students have the opportunity to live up to their potential.

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