Providing help for those recently laid off from Stark Aerospace plant

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COLUMBUS, Miss. (WCBI) – It was on Wednesday when WCBI first reported that 25 individuals are being laid off at the Stark Aerospace Plant in Lowndes County.

However, help will soon be coming their way.

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East Mississippi Community College, the Golden Triangle Development Link, Three Rivers Planning and Development District, and the Mississippi Department of Employment Security are all teaming up to help them get training they will need to re-enter the workforce.

“Help is available and East Mississippi Community College is going to help these people get back into the workforce as quickly as possible,” said Dr. Scott Alsobrooks, EMCC President.

That help comes in the form of what’s called the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act.

“That will come in the form of funding to pay for them to go to non-credit training or to enter into any two-year or one-year technical program that we have here at East Mississippi Community College,” said Alsobrooks.

So far, Alsobrooks said they haven’t met with the more than two dozen individuals and don’t know which particular set of skills they developed while working at the Stark Aerospace Plant.

He said they will see if a company has an opening and could use their particular skill set.

If not, they will help the individuals get the specific and specialized training that may be required to enter the workforce for another employer.

“We don’t really know which companies may be looking to hire, but we will work with our partners,” Alsobrooks explained. “We have great partners here in the Golden Triangle, and any of them that might look to hire these people, we can work with those companies to offer the training needed to help them enter that field.”

At EMCC, the 25 people can enter into short term programs or one to two-year programs.

Alsobrooks said he knows how difficult it can be losing a job especially around the holidays, that’s why he’s committed to helping these individuals get back on their feet.

“Whatever investment they might be willing to make in time, we’re willing to work with them to help them get enrolled and engaged in learning new skills and getting educated,” said Alsobrooks.

The EMCC president said they’re still working to figure out a date to meet with the 25 individuals to get everything started.

The layoffs reportedly mark a shift in some products that are being made at the facility.

A company spokesman has not returned our call for comment about the job loss or any potential severance pay for the impacted employees.

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