JACKSON, MS (WLBT) - Tony Craft spends his days doing odd jobs around his mother's house in Florence. He and his wife Tammy have been living there since June, when he was laid off from his construction job. Something else they do together every day: search online job listings.
Craft's life has changed dramatically since he stopped working.
"(I haven't) been able to afford my medication. I lost my insurance," he says. "I get $211 a week unemployment. I had to withdraw my 401k just to pay bills to get by. My retirement's gone."
As he searches for work, Craft has this barrier: he doesn't have a high school diploma or a G.E.D. That will shorten his job prospect list considerably, but he and other job hunters of any age and skill set can Mississippi Employment Security Commission's online job database for free.
Wayne Gasson of MESC says the agency's goal is to increase employment in the state, by using federal funds for job matching, training, and other employment-related measures.
Anyone can register online to access thousands of job openings.
"There's an option on there for people to go in, register for jobs. Once they do that they will be able to see a variety of jobs for specific occupations or in a specific geographic area," he says.
Gasson says the field with the most demand in Mississippi right now is health care. But the education job market is turning around. Teachers statewide were laid off in recent months, but hiring should pick up again soon.
Gasson would like to see the database expand. "We offer job postings for employers, it's a free service, we would love to do that for every employee in the state," he says.
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