Thursday, March 25, 2010
Job center likely
By SUE WATSON
Like lightning, opportunity may not strike the same place twice, and leaders in Marshall and Benton counties decided Thursday to not miss this chance to get a full-time WIN Job Center in the midst of its population of unemployed.
A consortium composed of the Mississippi Department of Employment Security (MDES), Marshall and Benton counties, Holly Springs, Byhalia, Potts Camp, Ashland, and Snow Lake will share in the costs of locating a job center in Holly Springs. Representatives from the various groups agreed to bear a fair share of the costs of operation of a job center with MDES kicking in $100,000 to start the ball rolling.
The group voted to operate the center the first year out of a house on the Rust College campus located behind Beckley Center.
The center is made possible because area leaders and members of the local delegation lobbied hard for the center, saying travel to existing job centers in Senatobia, Southaven and Oxford was too far a stretch for those out of work. With promising new jobs on the horizon in the area of northwest Marshall County and Fayette County, Tenn., leaders in the two counties wanted to help prepare the local workforce for these new job opportunities. The workforce training and investment center will help attract new business and industry to the area, leaders believe.
Marshall County will share the largest burden of the cost because of its population, said supervisor George Zinn III, who has been a driving force in seeking to establish the center.
“We being the larger county, we bit off the bigger chunk of this project just to show our good will,” he said at the meeting last week.
Marshall County has proposed to build an office complex on Highway 178 East in Holly Springs that would include space for the WIN Job Center once the complex is built.
In urging immediate action, Bill Renick with Three Rivers said it is important to form the partnership now.
“A combination of partners is what it’s going to take to make this work,” he said. “Mr. Zinn is trying to drive a stake in the ground and get this WIN Job Center. I want to see us tie it down.”
Selecting a temporary space and obtaining signed agreements from all partners is urgent in getting the center established the first year, he said. While operating the first year, leaders can be thinking about the long-term picture, he said.
“The community is doing an excellent job,” Renick said. “You’ve already come to a point where you’ve got the ole fish up to the boat. You don’t need to let him get off the hook. Put the net under him and bring him in. Let’s lock in the WIN Job Center now.”
Renick said to even be at this point of opening a center “is remarkable.”
“Most talk is about closing them (centers),” he said.
The management of the center will come under the umbrella of Three Rivers and Northwest Community College.
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