Thursday, November 2, 2006
Rust requests WIN Center support
By SUE WATSON
Clencie Cotton, with the Rust College Community Development Corp., asked the Marshall County Board of Supervisors for financial support for the local Work Force Investment Program.
The money would be used to hire a staffer to counsel job seekers and would dove-tail into the current job training program offered at the Holly Springs Information Technology Center, he said.
Mississippi Department of Economic Security (MDES) has closed its office in Holly Springs and relocated facilities to Hernando, too far away for most folks to drive to file for unemployment benefits or apply for jobs, he said.
Cotton said MDES could bring a mobile unit to Holly Springs which has been without an MDES representative on site since early October.
“We still have a lot of people coming there for services and we are still confronted with that particular problem,” he said. “We still think this is a stop-off point for Marshall and Benton counties to apply for job benefits. We’re back to the point of asking for some support from the board of supervisors to keep this very valuable service in our county.
“We do not believe there is any calling higher than to try to meet the needs of our most vulnerable citizens.”
Cotton said laid-off workers need training services locally for the “good jobs coming to Marshall County.”
He wants to build a program to provide training for certified nurse assistants, forklift drivers, welders and early childhood assistants.
Rust College wants to address training for the industrial sector.
Cotton asked for $30,000 to pay the salary for a staffer to help strengthen the workforce training program locally.
Transportation to other centers is a problem for many people, he said.
Les Range, with MDES, said this week that the four mobile units MDES has are deployed only to help out at job fairs or for a rapid response to an area which has experienced a major lay-off or similar situation. The mobile units were used heavily following the devastation of Hurricane Katrina on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, he said.
Using the MDES toll free number
Those who live in areas where MDES has closed its part-time offices can apply for jobs or for unemployment benefits using the call center’s toll-free number by dialing 1-888-844-3577. Or they can apply in person by visiting the Oxford, Senatobia, or Hernando WIN Job Centers.
Anyone calling the toll free number should have a Social Security number ready, be able to verify recent employment or have a W-2 form and current mailing address ready when calling to apply for unemployment insurance benefits.
The call center uses a menu and callers will ultimately reach a live representative, but callers are reminded to listen carefully to the menu choices. Once the caller enters a Social Security number, the caller is put in rotation and may have a short wait before a live representative comes on the line.
Sandra Hall, call center director for MDES, said the caller selects the option for either job services or programs or unemployment benefits. After selecting this option, they must key in their Social Security number on the telephone key-pad, then wait for a representative to take their call. Hold times are minimal and a live person will speak to to them, she said.
Cotton said that Rust College Community Development Corporation and the city is working for a full-time workforce training center in Holly Springs and also wants part-time service from MDES here.
Applying in person with MDES
With the recent closings of MDES employment services and unemployment insurance centers in Ashland, Booneville, Holly Springs and other areas, the nearest local sites to talk in person with an MDES representative are: the Oxford WIN Job Center, the WIN Job Center at the Northwest Community College Campus, the MDES Unemployment Insurance Claims center in Senatobia or the WIN Job Center in Hernando. After the full-time, full-service center opens in Southaven, MDES will close its MDES claims offices in Senatobia and Hernando, Range said.
MDES office hours in Oxford, Senatobia and Hernando are from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Hours at the Senatobia Campus office are Tuesdays from 8:30 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. The offices are closed on official holidays.
The Oxford WIN center is located at 204 Colonnade Cove and can be reached at 662-234-3231. The Hernando office is located at 225 Losher Street in Hernando. The Senatobia campus office is located on 4975 Highway 51 North. The Senatobia Claims office is located at 226 K East Main Street.
The new DeSoto County office in Southaven, which will open soon, will provide state-of-the-art, full service center, where all of MDES services will be provided, Range said.
MDES will continue to offer services at the Northwest Community College office in Senatobia on Tuesdays.
WIN Job Centers
The full-time WIN Job Center in Oxford recently opened in a new facility with 6,000 square feet of space available, according to Leigh Nelson, counselor.
ABE and GED classes are held Monday through Thursday from 8 a.m. until 4:30 p.m.
The center has a computer lab which will be fully equipped soon. Clients can get help with resume preparation, job searches and job training.
At the Northwest Community College center in Oxford, located on Belk Drive, job training services are provided to local industries, according to Eddie Wood.
Northwest provides the instructor or reimburses industry for the time an industry employee spends in training new employees, Wood said.
The center has an OSHA - certified (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) trainer who teaches fork-truck driving and safety.
Some manufacturing companies provide mock assembly-line training for new employees through Northwest Community College. A training trailer is located in the Olive Branch Industrial Park for on-site training of new employees, Wood said.
Local Service Providers
Locally, introductory computer classes and advanced classes in Excel, Internet, Publisher and Microsoft Word are taught at the Information Technology Center in Holly Springs.
For more information or to register for any of these classes call Catholic Social Services at 252-1336. New classes start November 6.
In November (Nov. 7-10, from 9:30 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.), new classes in job readiness (job preparation, resume writing, filling out a job application, interviewing tips and general information) begin. Call 252-1336 anytime before this date to reserve a space in class.
Now is the time to reserve a space in computer classes at the IT Center. Call Evelyn Fant at 252-1336 to reserve a space in a morning or evening class.
Clients attend morning classes four days a week for four weeks from 9 a.m. until 12 p.m. Evening classes are from 6 to 8 p.m. once weekly, Fant said.
(662) 252-4261 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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