Employment dept. seeks post-Katrina counselors

Published 5:00 am Friday, October 28, 2005

Brookhaven, McComb and Natchez are among the Mississippi sitesthat will benefit from a federal Department of Labor grant toprovide counselors for hurricane victims.

The Mississippi Department of Employment Security is seeking 25experienced counselors to help people displaced by HurricaneKatrina return to their former lives, said Liz Barnett, publicinformation director for MDES.

Work will be performed under contract for a monthly salary plusexpenses for a period of four to six months, she said.

“I don’t have the exact salary amount, but it is a very goodsalary,” Barnett said. “I’m pretty sure it will be six months. It’stemporary, but a lot of people are out of work, and it could be agood job for any retired counselors.”

As contract personnel, she said, those hired will likely “workout of their home.”

Counselors will provide reintegration counseling to individualsexperiencing a wide array of complex life issues, assessindividuals’ employability and current life circumstances andidentify barriers to returning to employment.

Tasks may also include guiding displaced people in identifyingand evaluating employment and training, communicating andcoordinating with the WIN Job Centers and Workforce partners andmaintaining and submitting reports and information on thoseserved.

Brookhaven, McComb and Natchez each will be assigned onecounselor with the remaining 22 counselors spread as needed amongCleveland, Pearl, Hernando, Hattiesburg, Columbus, Picayune,Gulfport/Biloxi, Jackson, Pascagoula, Laurel, Canton andMeridian.

A counselor would not have to necessarily live in a particulararea to apply for the position there, Barnett said.

Applicants should be “highly skilled” and possess a collegedegree, preferably a master’s degree, in counseling, social work,guidance counseling, career guidance or another associated degree.A degree alternative, she said, is to have at least five years’experience in those fields.

Resumes must be submitted by Nov. 12 to Reintegration Counselor,Mississippi Department of Employment Security, ATTN: Office ofGrant Management, P.O. Box 1699, Jackson MS 39215-1699. Resumes mayalso be faxed to (601) 321-6598 or e-mailed towia_ogm@mdes.ms.gov.

“I think it will be a quick turnaround as far as interviewresults go,” Barnett said. “They want to get this runningquickly.”

For more information, contact Barnett at (601) 321-6044.