PASCAGOULA, Miss. (WLOX) - The long lines at the Ingalls Shipbuilding drive-in job event Friday showed one thing is clear: people want to work.
“We have two or three events a year,” said Edmund Hughes, Ingalls Vice President of Human Resources and Administration. “And in those events, we get up to 400 to 500 individuals. We had over 1,200 to register for this event.”
Skill counts, but so does will, and Ingalls already provides the way: workforce training.
“With those individuals who have the desire to work in shipbuilding, we have opportunities for them,” Hughes said. “And we’re willing to do that training for those individuals.”
So, while workforce training is already in the Ingalls DNA, the initiative by Gov. Tate Reeves to focus to get Mississippians back to work promises to be an extension. In Ingalls’ case, it could help restart programs that had to close because of COVID-19.
“If I had a wish list, it would be getting those programs back started that we had running in the high schools and in the community colleges,” Hughes said. “Because it’s an opportunity to take individuals who don’t have skills, but are willing to invest in their own time, go in maybe after hours at night and go through those training programs.”
Likewise, Chevron depends heavily on programs through Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College, and this new initiative could solidify any program already offered.
“We’re anxious to learn more about the program and the specifics of it,” said Allison Cook, spokesperson for the Chevron Pascagoula Refinery. “There’s a lot of potential to benefit Mississippi workers, which in turn, benefit Mississippi business and industry. We all are better off when we can hire a well-qualified workforce locally.”
Mississippi Power is another industry that is bolstered by a skilled labor force produced through community college training.
“We have known the importance of a skilled workforce for many years here in Mississippi,” said Ann Holland, community representative with Mississippi Power. “This just elevates it to another level, and we will continue to support our communities, our community college systems to promote the future workforce in the skilled labor arena.”