Thursday, May 25, 2006
City leaders study WIN Center proposal
By SUE WATSON
The Holly Springs Board of Aldermen heard a proposal from Mayor Andre’ DeBerry and Ken Robinson, information technology director, on the use of the technology center as a temporary Workforce Investment Act job training center.
Alderman Nancy Hutchens asked Robinson what the city would gain in providing the space for the center.
Robinson said it would keep the Mississippi Employment Security office from shutting down in Holly Springs, and build on the possibility for one-stop-shopping for those who are looking for work or filing for unemployment.
“We would act as that location for Marshall and Benton counties,” he said.
Without a WIN Job Center, Marshall and Benton county residents would have to be served by offices in Hernando, Oxford and Southaven, he said.
The employment office, now located at the old hospital, is open in Holly Springs on a part-time basis, he said.
DeBerry added that Rust College Community Development Corporation has a file of several hundred applicants who could be served.
He said the IT Center would be a transitional facility for training for manufacturing jobs, work ethic and so forth. The money for the WIN programs would come from the community colleges and state funds, while Three Rivers Planning and Development District would partner and fund a director’s position, DeBerry said.
Robinson said the center is not used much during the hours of 8 a.m. until 3 p.m., the hours that would be scheduled for workforce training classes.
“We are trying to get this over here where there is 8 percent unemployment as opposed to in DeSoto County which has 4 percent,” DeBerry said.
The WIN Job Center is also needed to help recruiting of industry to the area, according to Bill Renick, director of the Industrial Development Authority.
“We know we have the numbers (who want training) but the question is how do we get the training?” DeBerry said. “Anyone who has a business could use it for workforce training.”
Alderman Tim Liddy asked if some of the empty buildings in the city could be adapted for use as a training center and DeBerry said they could.
DeBerry added that the C.R.E.A.T.E. Foundation in Tupelo has adopted a workforce initiative plan and is commissioned to help out with workforce development, cultural programs, race relations and social development programs.
Hutchens asked to postpone a vote on the issue until the board has time to look over the proposal Robinson has submitted.
In other business, the board adopted an interlocal agreement with Marshall County 911 Commission to share communications equipment purchased from fire grant monies obtained by Fire Chief Ken Holbrook and Hugh Hollowell, Emergency Management Director of Marshall County.
Three resolutions were adopted that pave the way to use funds from Community Development Block Grants to make improvements on the city’s aging sewer and water treatment systems at the east, south and west of the city.
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