Choctaw Host Career Expo

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The Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians' 1st Annual Career Expo brought in companies looking to hire.

"All of the companies that are here today are local companies in terms of the state of Mississippi and in this region," said Misty Dreifuss, director of the Office of Information. "And we do have some from the coast. We have Ingalls Shipbuilding here. The majority of the companies are in Neshoba County and the surrounding counties."

Officials say vendors conducted interviews, took applications, and talked with tribal members about the workforce outside of the tribe.

Chief Phyliss J. Anderson says this is very important because of the economy in recent years.

"This expo is very important to our tribal members because of the economy, and how things have gone in the U.S., as well as our reservation," said Anderson. "So it's important for our tribal members to realize that there are job opportunities out there. And we want to bring them in so that they will have a chance to come out and see and maybe express their qualifications and their skills that they have."

David Cobb of Ingalls Shipbuilding says, with 9600 employees, his company is looking for skilled craftsmen.

"And we are looking for some good skilled craftsmen," said Cobb. "And this is one way we feel like we can get them, by coming to an expo of this nature."

According to federal numbers, the unemployment rate among the Choctaw has been very high in recent years. It has been as high as 19 percent in 2009. As of late last year, the rate had dropped to 16 percent, which is about double the national average.