Jennifer Ortega

About Jennifer Ortega

Reporter and Fill-in Anchor on the weekends. Jennifer Ortega joins our team all the way from South Florida. She's worked for CBS 12 and Hola Tv in West Palm Beach. Although she's a long way from home, she's excited to be a part of the WCBI News Team.

High Youth Unemployment Rate

WEST POINT, Miss. (WCBI) -The unemployment rate is nearly 23 percent for adults ages 16 to 24 in Mississippi. Why are young people having such a hard time finding work?

When it comes to electing our leaders, voters look first and foremost to the economy  While working adults worry about saving enough for retirement, teenagers can have trouble landing even a minimum wage job. Only half of Mississippians ages 18-24 are working at all.

“I think the unemployment rate for that age group is so high because a lot of people do know that it’s a transitional period, they may be still involved with school things, that would interfere with the regular 8 to 5 job and the other thing is that people are looking for experience,” said Melanie Busby, Grant Writer.

To help this age group build experience, the City of West Point has teamed with Urban Youth Corps to place young adults in jobs that will look good on their resumes.

“What we’re able to do through our grant is that we hire six 18 to 24 year olds and they work for ten weeks with public works, you know public works is a responsible for the grass, for the roads, so part of the time they weed, part of the time they pick up paper,” added Busby.

Within the program young adults attend a class each week where they are able to learn about careers, budgeting, interviewing and different job skills.

“Hopefully it help them in the long run, to be more employable in the future. It gives them something to put on their resume but it is really hard work, and it is really hot work and so not everybody is interested in this but it does give them something to do and a way to make money,” said Busby.

And while the deadline has passed in West Point, make sure you check your local city hall to see if there are any jobs available in your area.