LaShonda Barnes joined the MAP team on November 16, 2021 as an Apprenticeship Expansion Specialist. Her target area for apprenticeship expansion will be the Mississippi Delta region. This area’s key industries consist of agriculture and manufacturing. She will work diligently to collaborate with other workforce entities in the region such as the local Workforce Development Board, area community colleges and universities, and the local chambers of commerce.
LaShonda comes to MAP from the Mississippi Department of Rehabilitation Services (MDRS) where she worked as a Business Development Representative. In this capacity, she was able to successfully establish relationships with various businesses in Hinds and Warren Counties. Through these relationships, she was able to secure employment opportunities for Mississippians with disabilities. Prior to her work as a Business Development Representative, LaShonda served as District Manager with MDRS’ Office of Special Disability Programs. In this role, she led a staff of case managers and assistants to provide services that allowed Mississippians who were at risk of nursing home placement with services to ensure their ability to live safely and independently in their homes and communities. In total LaShonda brings to MAP nearly 10 years of experience in state government.
LaShonda believes apprenticeship programs add to a vibrant workforce development culture in Mississippi by its ability to provide a more diverse workforce. Having had prior experience working with an underserved population, LaShonda hopes to use this experience to positively impact those populations, specifically people with disabilities. She plans to provide more access to the workforce through apprenticeships by establishing apprenticeships that are inclusively designed to better accommodate individuals with disabilities. She hopes to collaborate with MDRS to help meet this goal. Furthermore, LaShonda hopes to bring increased awareness of apprenticeships to break down misconceptions and the stigmas that often surround apprenticeships through public engagement.
Her passion for serving others and drive to make a difference makes her an excellent addition to the MAP team. More than anything, LaShonda looks forward to being able to give someone, who likely otherwise would not have an opportunity, the chance to achieve more through apprenticeships.