GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - A new man is in charge of Climb CDC, a workplace training institute in Gulfport.
John Whitfield was named CEO at the beginning of August and is already busy maintaining the agency's existing programs and working on new ways to advance the organization.
Whitfield has hit the ground running as the new Chief Executive Officer of Climb CDC. He took the reins of the nonprofit community development agency on August 1st and is excited about continuing the work done by Climb.
"The challenge of taking over as CEO of Climb is that we're working with a very special population of individuals, at-risk young people. My focus over the years has always been on youth. We're trying to develop them and give them the tools they need to better themselves, with the goal to better our community," he said.
The agency runs programs dedicated to a host of needs for people at risk, including workforce training, financial counseling, housing development throughout the Gulf South Region.
People are trained in food service and help run the cafe inside the main complex on 30th avenue. Most of the job training is dedicated to construction and the service sectors. Whitfield wants to add more vocational opportunities.
"We want to expand on all of our programs. We're looking to add hvac as an apprenticeship as well as welding. There are jobs readily available in the region, and we want to make them available to our people," said Whitfield.
Climb CDC has a conservation Corp that works on environmental issues, and Whitfield will be overseeing important environment work as part of the BP funding settlement.
"Our Conservation Corp is the first group to receive BP funding. Our young people will be the boots on the ground to help clean and restore the Turkey Creek Community," according to Whitfield.
Whitfield wants to establish vocational partnerships with area high schools and the Mississippi Gulf Coast community college.