Training Workers in Sunflower County
Workforce training is much more than classes, instruction, and learning the nuts and bolts of a prospective job. No one knows that better than Todd Donald.
“Maybe a student needs a place to live, assistance with housing. Or maybe that student needs to be able to put food on the table while going to classes. And without transportation, how does he or she even get to class?” asked Donald, director of Workforce Development at the Capps Technology Center in Indianola.
The answers, said Donald, are being found within a new program called the Sunflower County Workforce Development Collaborative, which is leveraging many of the Delta’s resources to provide residents with the services they need to be successful.
“So let’s say you have someone who wants to take workforce development classes at the Capps Center but doesn’t have the tuition cost,” explained Lolita Gladney, a project manager for Delta Health Alliance, one of the sponsors of the program. “The center would refer that person to us and we would be able to locate financial assistance.”
Started in June 2017, the Collaborative has been meeting once a quarter to finalize the arrangement between member organizations and to hone the resources that can be accessed by workforce development students. The Collaborative, thus far, includes:
- The Capps Technology Center, which offers technical skills training in medical office, medical billing, medical coding, pharmacy tech, hospitality, welding, HVAX, leadership and other skills.
- Mississippi Delta Community College, which offers technical skills training as well as academic training, and assistance with transportation, tuition, job placement and financial literacy.
- PAVE/MedEd Services of Greenville, which offers technical skills training and assistance with transportation.
- The Delta Health Alliance/Indianola Promise Community, which offers assistance with tuition, financial literacy, childcare and other services.
- Sunflower County Economic Development District, which offers testing services and funding.
- Washington County Economic Alliance, which offers testing services and funding.
- Delta Strong/Delta Council, which offers testing services and funding.
- Delta State University, which offers academic training, soft skills training and financial literacy.
- Mississippi Department of Human Services, which offers a wide range of public assistance program, social services and support for children, low-income individuals and families.
“All of the members of the collaborative are in communication with one another about resources that are available and how we can improve, leverage, and expand those resources,” said Gladney.
The Sunflower County Workforce Development Collaborative is not the first such collective effort that Delta Health Alliance has helped develop. A Social Services Collaborative was formed several years ago to bring local, state and federal agencies and groups together. The Collaborative serves as a clearinghouse for information that residents need.
The same holds true with the new Workforce Development Collaborative.
“The expertise and volume of resources available through the Collaborative is going to have a very distinct impact on those who want to be trained for a future job and on the employers who will be able to hire individuals ready to hit the ground running,” said Gladney.