Job fair a good case study

By BRYAN DAVIS EDITOR,

There’s a lot to be said about the dwindling population in the Mississippi Delta.

That trend continues to negatively affect the region’s healthcare, education and economic development.

It’s difficult recruiting jobs to a region that is losing its labor pool more and more year-after-year.

But there is good news.

The ones who remain in the Delta do want jobs.

That was evident this past Saturday morning at the Capps Center in Indianola, where the line for a job fair held by Delta Health Alliance stretched out the door of the building for several hours.

DHA officials said there was already a line when they arrived at 7 a.m. The job fair started at 8:30 a.m.

The organization is hiring a little over 100 to fill positions in the county’s Head Start program. DHA was awarded the grant to take over the county’s Head Start program from Save the Children, which deferred the program this year.

People are hungry for jobs, and this particular job fair is a good case study for Sunflower County, which has its challenges convincing companies there is a highly-skilled qualified labor pool here and in the counties surrounding us.

There were an estimated total of about 500 individuals who showed up for the DHA event. That isn’t counting countless numbers who had already applied online and were not required to attend the job fair.

Applicants had to go through a multistep process at the fair, including to make sure they were qualified for at least one of the many positions available.

Many of DHA’s Head Start positions require an associate’s degree or bachelor’s degree.

It is fitting that the fair was held at the Capps Center, since that is the training ground for multiple technical certifications and the ACT certifications.

Capps classes are often full with men and women looking to get jobs in fields ranging from pharmacy techs to virtual reality programming.

We’ve written at length about the fact that we believe that solid groundwork is being laid with the labor pool that has opted to stay in the Delta.

Now is a good time to cash in on that foundational work.

Earlier this summer, it was announced that an out-of-state company, Parmida, plans to occupy space in the former Modern Line building, creating at least 20 jobs. Company executives told The E-T they project it will be much more than that when all of the hiring is done.

Sunflower County has its challenges, but it is clear that if a company with a modest number of jobs that require anywhere from a basic to mid-level college education wanted to locate here, qualified people will line up to apply.

The only negative that comes from the Saturday job fair is that around 400 people went home without a job. There were only 110 available.

The good news is that those 400 could be in line when the next company announces plans to open operations in Sunflower County.

Let’s hope that happens before the population dwindles more.

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