Mapping a New Path

A message from Jackie Turner, executive director of the Mississippi Department of Employment Security

The Mississippi workforce experienced significant changes over the past twelve months. There has never been a time in recent history more appropriate for bold, creative, and dynamic solutions to getting people back to work in jobs that enable them to provide for their families. Although apprenticeship is not a new concept, we believe this workforce development tool is a core solution with a proven track record of successfully training workers and helping companies grow a talented workforce pipeline. Frankly, apprenticeship programs offer a win-win opportunity for Mississippians and Mississippi businesses.

Our agency’s goal has long been to help Mississippians get jobs by matching qualified, prospective employees with employers. Apprenticeship programs add an opportunity for businesses to recruit and train their workforce through a highly customized and intentional process that incorporates classroom learning and on-the-job training. 

Data from the National Skills Coalition shows that our state faces a shortage of workers with specialized training to fill middle-skill jobs (a job that requires at least a high school diploma, but not a four-year college degree). Middle-skill jobs include such roles as office and administrative support, transportation and logistics, manufacturing, construction, information technology, and shipbuilding, among others. 

As we grow apprenticeship in Mississippi, we will leverage our existing relationships with business and industry leaders in the state and expand our work with community colleges. We will work with career and technical education professionals to create more opportunities for people in the state to learn new skills and secure jobs with family-sustaining wages. 

We invite businesses to seek us out and let us help you develop a customized, registered apprenticeship program that will help you train new and current employees, increase loyalty and morale, and ensure you have a solid pipeline of highly skilled employees. MAP is a proven workforce and leadership development tool that helps businesses expand their talent pool and improve their bottom line. We also invite educational institutions to join us in the work to offer in-class learning opportunities that support the on-the-job training offered by Mississippi employers. Together we can map a new path to opportunity for Mississippi’s workforce. 

About Jackie Turner

Jackie Turner serves as the Executive Director of the Mississippi Department of Employment Security (MDES). Before her appointment in 2019, Turner has served as the Deputy Executive Director of MDES since 2013. In this role, she was responsible for the U.S. Department of Labor Employment and Training Administration workforce programs, including Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), Unemployment Insurance, Mississippi Works job match, and Labor Market Information. She also served as the administrative and fiscal agent for Mississippi Works and State Workforce Investment Board (SWIB) funds.

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