Thursday the ribbon was cut for a new center designed to help locals get needed training to find jobs. The Kemper County Recruiting and Training Center is located in what once was Cleveland High School just outside of DeKalb. For the last few years the building has been used as a community center. Now it's going to be used to help build the community.
Within the next month to month and a half is when recruitment for the training center is expected to start. The center will train many of the construction workers for the new Lignite Coal Plant in Kemper County.
"Well it will have an impact. It will have a positive impact on unemployment."
That's coming from Les Range. He is the Executive Director of the Mississippi Department of Employment Security. He believes the training facility coming to Kemper County will help to decrease the jobless rate in the area.
"This is just something that will enhance the opportunities for all of our citizens.
And that's coming from State Representative Russ Nowell. He represents all of Winston County, a part of Kemper County, and a part of Noxubee County. All three of these counties are struggling when it comes to jobs and the workforce. According to data released Friday by the United States Department of Labor Statistics, Kemper County's unemployment rate is 15%. Winston County stands at 20.8%. And Noxubee County tops them both, at 22.4%. Both Range and Representative Nowell are hoping for improvements.
"Well, we are in a very depressed area here and I think it's going to do nothing but help our unemployment rates at this time. With this new technology, what Mississippi Power is doing here is going to be a national model and we hope it's going to increase the unemployment rates and keep our jobs local, which in our community, our locals want that," explains Representative Nowell.
"Now the unemployment rate may not go down a whole lot, but for the thousands of people who get jobs, it will be very important for them. It will have an impact on the economy. Lots of people need jobs and this is just one shot in the arm to help the unemployment rate," describes Range.
Range says there won't be an immediate impact when it comes to joblessness. He estimates that changes will likely be visible in roughly 18 to 24 months. He also believes the impact could be widespread.
"With any project like this, this is a commuting area, so people can, with the proper skills and training can commute in, in say a 50 miles radius or a 75 mile radius. It is not uncommon for people to commute to employment so it will have a positive impact on the surrounding communities as well."
According to the United States Department of Labor Statistics, Alabama's unemployment rate was recently updated to 9.2%. Mississippi's unemployment rate came in at 10%.