More job opportunities through new program at WIN

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - By Krystal Allan – bio | email

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - The WIN Job Center in Biloxi now has a new name and focus.

It's called the Biloxi WIN Job Center Workforce Recovery Office. The goal is to connect people impacted by the oil spill to sustainable jobs and career training.

The Mississippi Department of Employment Security, which oversees the center, is partnering with two non-profits for the new program.  Lutheran Episcopal Services in Mississippi and Asian Americans for Change will now offer services in-house at the center. A $5 million grant from the Department of Labor is making the new service possible.

The two non-profits will use their case management skills to help people with everything from job opportunities to budgeting their pocketbooks. They say working in-house will help the process of connecting people to jobs run more smoothly.

"I think it comes at a perfect time to present that opportunity for people to take them by the hand and guide them through that employment process," says Robert Blanton, Lutheran Episcopal Services in Mississippi.

The program is trying to expose people to new career opportunities, especially those who rely on seasonal work associated with the seafood industry.  It can also offer options to people looking to supplement their current job.

"There's going to be need for a culture shift and change in thinking. Part of the retraining is going to be focused on full-time employment, 12 month employment," said Les Range, Executive Director of the Mississippi Department of Employment Security.

Kaitlyn Troung, of Asian Americans for Change, said the program will break down language barriers and offer people the opportunity for a more stable life.

"We want to open the door to job development, job training even further education," said Troung, "We'll have more access to resources and information.  We want to bridge that gap and do a lot of referrals."

Those who come in can also get help with other personal needs and services through community partners.  The center is still open to those who are not involved with the new program.

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