Job fair aims to train people to enter the work force

BAY ST. LOUIS, MS (WLOX) - College isn't for everyone, and the Workforce Development Alliance is well aware of that. Since August of 2013, the group has been hosting job fairs all across South Mississippi to give those who are unemployed a chance at a great career without going to college.

A series of speakers addressed a diverse crowd at a Work Force Alliance Job Fair in Bay St. Louis on Saturday. The crowd was made up of men and women of all ages and races with a common goal: to learn how they could get into training programs for technical jobs across South Mississippi.

"My role there is to prepare the workforce so that they can compete for the jobs when they become available," said Robert Boone, who is the workforce development coordinator for the Port of Gulfport.

Boone says after renovations are complete, the port will be looking to hire about 1,200 people, but right now their focus is on having people trained and ready when the jobs become available.

"The Workforce Alliance is a good outreach for us, because they're trying to accomplish the same thing."

Susan Shelton has worked as a journeyman electrician for 30 years, and she travels with Workforce Alliance sharing her testimony about what it takes to grow in this field.

"You have to be curious enough to want to learn something new, because our field changes on a daily basis. We get new stuff in that I've never seen and we have to figure out how to make it work," said Shelton.

Shelton also wants to break down the stereotypes associated with who can work in such technical fields.

"You don't have to be the 6'4", 200 pound muscle man to do this kind of work. I've been doing it for 30 years and I love it. I still enjoy it as much as I did the first time I flipped a switch."

Workforce Alliance's main objective is to provide more people with life-long skills to secure careers with higher paying salaries.

For more information concerning this Workforce Development Program call (888) 601-8214

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