Free Program Trains Students For Construction Jobs - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

12/02/05

Free Program Trains Students For Construction Jobs

Every cut they make and every nail they pound into place, put Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College students closer to building a new career.

Charlotte Banas had always wanted to go into the construction field.

"I had a grandfather who built his own home and got me involved as a child," said Charlotte Banas.

Banas put her dream aside to raise a family. But when Katrina ravaged South Mississippi, she felt compelled to pursue her goal.

"It's a personal thing for me, as an individual. I get to do what I want to do. Get into this industry. At the same time, I have the benefit of helping rebuild the coast."

Rebuilding South Mississippi and creating jobs are reasons behind "Project Outreach".

"We've got a lot of devastation from Hurricane Katrina, and we're looking to help with the cleanup effort, and help with the unemployment rates on the Gulf Coast. Get some skilled labor in the field," said program instructor Matt Johnson.

The U.S. Labor Department created the free, four-week program right after Katrina hit, to train students in basic home-building skills.

"If you've never turned a screw on a screwdriver, they talk you through all the way to doing the framing work and everything else," said Sean O'Neill.

The students hope the training will give them the tools they need to land a job, so they'll have a hand in helping South Mississippi recover.

"Love the Coast and I know we're going to rebuild it very effectively. I know it's going to be rebuilt nicely. Folks like this are going to be helping the process along," said Banas.

Project Outreach is offered at the Jeff Davis and Perkinston campuses. The students graduate next Thursday. If you're interested in signing up for another class in January, call 897-4362.

By: Trang Pham-Bui

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