AccelerateMS Exec Director says career coach program is one creative solution designed to help guide students to good jobs, associated education, and training in their communities.

Earlier this week, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) released a Job Openings and Labor Turnover report for August 2022, showing the number of job openings decreased to 10.1 million on the last business day of August, and hires and total separations were little changed at 6.3 million and 6.0 million, respectively.

READ MORE: U.S. job openings decreased to 10.1 million on the last business day of August, BLS reported.

According to a Mississippi Department of Employment Security (MDES) report, Mississippi lost 8,300 net payroll jobs and the unemployment rate remained unchanged at 3.6 percent in August.

Over the past twelve months, Mississippi added 11,800 payroll jobs and the unemployment rate fell by 1.7 percentage points from 5.3 percent. In August, Mississippi’s private sector lost 4,000 net private payroll jobs and over the past twelve months it added 15,600 private payroll jobs in the establishment survey.

In the household survey, the number of unemployed fell by 840 on net in August, and over the past year employment rose by 34,618. Mississippi’s labor force participation rate fell to 55.3 percent in August from 55.5 percent. Since last year, the labor force participation rate rose by 0.4 percentage point.

For the month of August 2022, thirty-four counties in Mississippi posted unemployment rates less than or equal to the state’s rate of 3.6 percent.

Rankin and Union counties posted the lowest unemployment rate for the month of August at 2.7 percent followed by Lamar County at 2.8 percent. Jefferson County had the highest unemployment rate for August at 14.3 percent followed by Claiborne County at 9.0 percent.

Ryan Miller, Executive Director of AccelerateMS, said his office recognizes the labor market is challenging and often fluctuates based on numerous factors. Many of these factors are external and are largely out of the control of a state. However, there are a number of internal factors that is controllable which can create a healthier workforce supply and can result in positive long-term trends in employment.

“Our office is committed to doing just that by working with training providers, industry partners, and community and state leaders to develop creative solutions to encourage more workers to enter the labor market to ensure Mississippi’s businesses can continue to access the workforce they need,” Miller told Y’all Politics.

During the 2022 Mississippi Legislative Session, lawmakers passed House Bill 1388 and House Bill 1517, which created and funded a career coach program to connect, prepare high school students with Mississippi’s most in demand careers.

At the end of August, AccelerateMS announced an $8 million investment in Mississippi high schools to support a significant expansion of the career coach program in public high schools in the state.

READ MORE: AccelerateMS announces $8 million American Rescue Plan investment in career coaches for 125 Mississippi high schools.

The AccelerateMS Executive Director said the career coach program, piloted initially in Lee, Pontotoc, and Union Counties, and now experiencing exponential growth to communities around Mississippi, is one creative solution designed to help guide students to good jobs and associated education and training opportunities in their communities.

“Our high schools, community colleges, universities, and non-profits are working within their communities to help students access work-based learning opportunities to increase their real-world experience and connection to Mississippi companies,” Miller said.

“Ultimately, we will never control the overall changes in the global and national labor market, but the investments and strategies we collectively employ today will better prepare the people of Mississippi for success in any type of labor market,” Miller explained.

The BLS is expected to release state employment and unemployment data for September on October 21, 2022 and the national employment situation report for September on October 7, 2022.