Goodwill Industries of South Mississippi, wants to bridge the so-called "digital divide." That's the invisible employment barrier that prevents many people from landing jobs which require computer skills.
And that's why Goodwill dedicated a new computer education center today.
Goodwill is generally known for helping folks with disabilities find decent jobs. And this new computer center is certainly in keeping with that mission. The high tech training will enable students to become "computer literate" and take advantage of a booming job market.
"Once I go through this class, I think I'll be ready for the new job market."
Norman McClendon views the new Goodwill computer center as his high-tech ticket to a better paying job. Becoming computer literate will open many more doors and Windows to the information age economy.
"There's nothing I could do without getting computer literate. As far as better jobs," McClendon said.
The program instructor says those better jobs are out there. In fact, thousands of computer jobs go unfilled due to a lack of qualified applicants.
"Unless measures are taken to ensure that all Americans are equipped to share in the new digital economy, we're going to have a huge gap of 'haves' and 'have nots,' worse than we've ever seen before," said instructor, Gerard Schexnayder.
Former Goodwill employee Daryl Phillips wants to be among the "haves." The new program will better prepare him for community college classes.
"I'm going to be taking or going to Jeff Davis after I take this class. So it's going to be a good head start for me," Phillips said.
Computer training is the kind of head start that seems the perfect match for Goodwill as the organization moves into the new century.
Scottie Maddox works with community outreach for the City of Biloxi, which helped the Goodwill program get started with a twenty five thousand dollar grant.
"Through all of this, Goodwill is continuing their vision for the future of the Gulf Coast. And it's important for all of us to understand the necessity of this new concept in job training," Maddox said.