Getting Mississippians back to work

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Hundreds of Coast residents showed up with resumes in hand for today’s hiring expo in Biloxi.

Goodwill of South Mississippi and East Biloxi Community Collaborative teamed up to bring Gulf Coast residents in search of employment and 19 employers together at the Biloxi Civic Center Wednesday for a hiring expo. Goodwill South Mississippi Chief Workforce and Economic Development Center Kimberly Hall said, “We thought this would be a good time. The pandemic unemployment insurance has ended. There may be a part two to that, but we thought this would be a great time to really help people get back to work.”

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Twenty-seven year-old motivational speaker Devin Wade from Gulfport attended the expo because of the impact the pandemic had on a fundamental element of his job: traveling. “Pre-COVID I was traveling state to state or whatever, but, you know, it’s devastating right now that those that are used to that and get into that routine can’t even do it anymore. So, of course I’m not doing that, so I just feel like anything is better than nothing at all.”

Although the unemployment rate in South Mississippi has decreased since April from 21.7 percent to 10.7 percent, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics 10.7 percent is still more than double the February 2020 unemployment rate for the Coast. EBCC Program Director Allytra Perryman said, “I am shocked at the turnout. I’m excited about the turnout. It’s sobering because people who are here need jobs, for real.”

The socially distanced hiring expo gave community members a chance to look for work safely and immediately. The Goodwill of South Mississippi made five hires only two hours into the four hour event. “This is a hope builder for so many people that have been looking for work and supporting employers again that are looking for great talent. So, it’s all around a win for everyone.”

If you were unable to attend the expo, the Goodwill of South Mississippi and East Biloxi Community Collaborative have links to employers and job applications on their Facebook pages.

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