HANCOCK COUNTY, Miss. (WLOX) - COVID-19 restrictions have all, but shut down businesses trying to recruit new talent at South Mississippi high school Career Day Events. That’s why those in Hancock County are using other means to get the word out, on what they have to offer.
A squadron T-45 US Navy training jets stopped in Wednesday at Stennis International Airport to refuel and reboot before heading off to their next destination.
While on the ground, the pilots get the red carpet, or in this case, the red tarmac treatment from the staff with Million Air, and employees like Raoul Boughton, who went to Hancock High School right across the street from the airport.
“I knew of the airport but I never knew of it’s potential. I had a buddy of mine who used to fly into high school over here because his dad was a pilot,” Boughton said. “I never put much thought into until afterwards.”
Hancock County businesses are hoping news of what they have to offer will take off to new heights, even though COVID-19 has created a no-fly zone for career promotion opportunities.
“In aviation, the primary source of marketing is word of mouth,” said Chanse Watson, Stennis Airport director. “There’s a lot of stuff that happens out here. Maintenance opportunities and a lot of jobs behind this fence, and we don’t want to let the fence scare you, it’s a security measure, but we also want you to come inside the terminal building and talk to us.”
That same concept is shared at other local businesses, by land out at Port Bienville.
“We maintain almost 20 miles of track out there and we have almost 500 spaces of storage,” said Jason Oliver.
By sea, through the US Coast Guard’s Port Security Team located at Stennis.
“We’re still trying to recruit, and we’re in need of people, and we’re still trying to do that through any means necessary,” said Lawrence Battiste, US Coast Gaurd MEO-2nd Class.
And by air at Tyonek, where Hancock County native Destrien Barr does maintenance on C-130 aircraft.
“After college, they were hiring and I decided to come join, and they’re growing,” Barr said.
Potential employers are also either recording videos for local schools or having virtual career sessions to try to interact with students.