RAYMOND – Braden Boone was unsure of what he wanted to do with his Hinds credential in Welding Technology and started looking for work.
Through his job search, he learned quickly that many employers wanted work experience, something he didn’t have, before they could employ him. He turned to his instructors at Hinds and quickly learned of internship opportunities.
Thanks to Hinds Community College’s renewed workforce development efforts through WIN Job Center locations in three communities, his choice is paying off handsomely.
“If not for Hinds and the WIN Job Center, I’d probably still be working with cows or building fences,” said Boone, 21, of Utica, who completed an internship at Raymond-based Hunter Engineering, which builds undercar parts for the automotive industry.
He did so through the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), which offers qualified applicants gain practical work experience and sharpen their skills while earning a paycheck.
“I plan to build my skills here and move up,” Boone said. “It’s not too far from home and they do a lot more with welding than a lot of places do.”
In 2018, the college took over operations at WIN Job Centers in Warren, Hinds and Rankin counties. A $3 million grant from Southcentral Mississippi Workforce Development Area, part of Central Mississippi Planning and Development District, made the move possible.
“We partner with existing and incoming industries so we can continue to grow our community into one that’s work-ready,” said Chtina Black, coordinator for On The Job Training and Internships at the Jackson center. “We have more access now to qualified applicants coming in who seek employment so they can continue their job search and career path.”
Jeffrey Irons, production manager for manufacturing at Hunter, touted the work-ready skillset they see in Boone and others expected to be produced from the college’s workforce development efforts at the centers.
“Working with Hinds Community College and the WIN Job Center adds to our ability to hire qualified people,” Irons said. “The job-training skills at Hinds helps us place people in jobs where they feel most comfortable.”