Success Stories

MDES Spells Success


The services and expertise offered to unemployed workers and employers by MDES are fulfilling the agency’s mission to increase employment in Mississippi.

Here are just a few of our success stories:

“The Externship Program at Greenwood Leflore Hospital (GLH) offers a valuable opportunity to assist in the development of future nurses.

The extra clinical experience provided through the program allows the Externs to gain a deeper and better understanding of their classroom learning.  The Externs gain clinical skills, confidence, competence, and a broader view of the expectations of nurses.  Offering the Externship Program at GLH is a great opportunity for the recruitment of new registered nurses.”

Rannie Winbush, RN
Nurse Recruiter
Greenwood Leflore Hospital


The dream of becoming registered nurses began a long time ago for twins Amber and Anna McNeal of Clarksdale.  Amber received her first WIA ITA scholarship in 2007 to enter the LPN program at Coahoma Community College (CCC).  Anna entered the LPN program in 2008.  Both sisters completed the LPN program and obtained employment as LPNs.  Amber had a strong desire to become a registered nurse and entered the Associate Degree Nursing program at CCC.  She later received a second WIA ITA scholarship.  A short time later, Anna entered the Accelerated Track RN program at CCC and received a second WIA ITA scholarship. Anna and Amber graduated in May, 2012 from Coahoma Community College with an Associate Degree in Applied Science.  Having passed the Mississippi State Board of Nursing exam, the twin sisters are looking forward to pursuing a BSN degree at a later date.  Anna currently works at Northwest Regional Medical Center in Clarksdale and Amber is employed at the Mississippi Department of Corrections.


Courtney Shaw, a 20 year-old parenting youth, dropped out of school in 2007.  She enrolled in the SELECT GRADS Program in September 2011. Courtney faced transportation barriers but was able to pass the GED test on November 15, 2011.  Courtney said, “The SELECT GRADS Program helped me to receive my diploma, and made me aware of other opportunities in life.”  She is currently employed at Fred’s of Indianola, Inc. as a stock clerk.  She plans to enroll at Mississippi Valley State University.


Latasha Henderson, a 21-year-old parenting youth of four children, dropped out of school in 2005. She entered the SELECT GRADS Program in September 2011, and passed the GED test in November 2011.  Latasha said, “The SELECT GRADS Program gave me a second chance to get my diploma, to work, to provide for my family, and to learn new skills.”  She plans to attend Mississippi Delta Community College.


Jonathan Wilson, 17, dropped out of school in January 2012.
He enrolled in the SELECT GRADS Program in March 2012. Jonathan said, “The SELECT GRADS Program helped me to get my GED and to earn some extra money.” Out of the 10 GED recipients, Jonathan had the highest standard score in Mathematics (620), Science (650) and Battery Average (570) on the GED test.  He plans to attend Mississippi Delta Community College.


Dennis Spann enrolled in the C2C program at East Mississippi Community College to change his life. He had been looking for a job, but had no luck. He attended classes every day for 7 weeks to obtain the skills needed to become permanently employed.  During his training, the C2C trainers exposed him to various programs and information that would assist him to become employable.  Dennis attended a job fair hosted by KiOr, completed the hiring process, and within weeks began work. He is still employed with KiOr and seeks to move up to a leadership position within the next 5 years.  Dennis is the example that is used repeatedly to get participants energized and excited about the C2C program.


Two words come to mind when Cruse Clark is mentioned:  determination and spirit. Cruse enrolled in C2C class in November, 2011.  At that time, he only lacked math in order to pass his GED.  Cruse completed the Smart Work Ethics classes, Smart Lab, and the CRC test. Passing the math section of the GED was a little more difficult.  Cruse had been unsuccessful in passing the math section in three previous attempts.  After enrolling in C2C he took the exam two more times and passed on the second attempt. Cruse enrolled in Northeast Mississippi College in August, 2012 and is now the 2012-2013 Northeast Tiger Mascot.  Few people seem to enjoy college more than Cruse. No matter the success he has in life, Cruse will remember where it all started: C2C and GED!!


My name is Stephanie Doss and I greatly appreciate the help that I received from WIA. I was a recently separated mother of two beautiful children.  I was going to school at NEMCC with the hopes of graduating as a nurse.  I was working as a waitress at Huddle House to provide for my children and help pay for my financial needs.  I was living with family members and friends, paying rent and helping with bills and food as much as I could.  I struggled through my classes and worked late hours at night. I am so proud to say I finally made it to graduation day.  The instructors gave me a list of costs that needed to be covered for graduation, the review class to prepare me for my test, fingerprinting, and finally the cost of my state board test to receive my license.  I was horrified!  I had struggled harder than ever before to become a mother that my children could be proud of and now a brick wall stood in my way. With a waitress income there was no way that I would be able to save the money needed to cover all my expenses, and my family was not in a position to help me.  One of my instructors told me to call the WIN Job Center and ask if there was any funding available.  I called and talked to Mark Tomlinson who was very understanding of my situation and promised to help in any way if possible.  I was told that I qualified for assistance and that most of the financial needs for school would be paid by WIA. I am now a licensed nurse with a full time job and a four bedroom brick house for my two children to call their own.  I finally feel that I am becoming the mother I have always wanted to be; a strong independent woman that my children can be proud of.  I couldn’t have done it without the financial and emotional support that I received from WIA through the WIN Job Center.  Thank you all very much and I would tell any woman struggling to change her life… if I can do it anyone can.


At seventeen years of age, Cortney Shook’s family was told that her father needed a liver transplant. He was the sole supporter for the family and suddenly his life revolved around doctors and hospitals. Cortney’s mother stayed weeks at a time at the hospital.  Cortney had to assume many of the responsibilities of her mother, but she also wanted to finish her high school diploma. As a result of entering the C2C program, Cortney was able to complete her GED, CRC, ACT testing, Smart Work Ethic training, and receive the assistance she needed to complete her financial aid and admission paperwork for college  This proved to be a very challenging time in Courtney’s life.  Her father received his transplant but had medical difficulties that would require him to receive another transplant.  Her father did not win his fight for his life but knew before he died that Cortney had passed her GED and that she was determined to become a nurse. Cortney took a difficult situation and, with the help of the C2C program, turned her life toward success.  Cortney is now in her second year of college and well on her way to becoming a nurse.  She is also employed and implementing the work ethic she learned in her training class.  Cortney is a success story but the final chapter is not written!


Nioki Johnson visited the local WIN Job Center in Pearl, MS and noticed a sign on the bulletin board that read, “WIA Orientation”. She was interested in becoming a Certified Nurse Assistant, being inspired by her mother who was a CNA for 22 years.  Nioki turned in her essay of interest, and was approved for the CNA program. She sat before the ITA Approval Committee members with the hopes of being approved to attend the CNA Training Center.  She received the approval that she was hoping for.  Nioki’s training start date was May 14, 2012 and she graduated June 22, 2012. She said, “I give thanks to the ITA Scholarship Program, the WIN Job Center in Pearl, MS, the CNA Training Center at the Jackson Medical Mall, and Mrs. Tina Tolar, WIA ITA Case Manager at the WIN Job Center.  The success is there for those who strive.  I have achieved my goal.  I’m currently working as a CNA at a Hospice Care Center in Jackson, MS.”


Ms. Mary Horne is a two time cancer survivor, but she has never given up on her dream to become a nurse. Mary first met with Daniel Williams, Laurel WIN Job Center ITA Specialist, in August of 2009.  Daniel placed her in training at Jones County Junior College where she began her training.  Subsequently, Mary was diagnosed and treated for cancer on two occasions while attending school.  In spite of her physical challenges, Mary completed her program and received an Associate Degree (RN) in December 2011. – WIA Adult Funding Stream


Ms. Lori Woodward was employed as a waitress earning $2.75 hourly plus tips. Ms. Woodward sought assistance at the Columbia WIN Job Center to upgrade her skills and work toward self-sufficiency.  She worked with the ITA Specialist and was awarded an ITA to help pay for training.  She was accepted into the Associate Degree Nursing program at Pearl River Community College, and recently graduated and passed the state board exam.  She is now employed as a Registered Nurse at Southwest MS Regional Medical Center. – WIA Adult Funding Stream


In June of 2011, Mr. Buckley visited the Picayune WIN Job Center, having previously worked as a truck driver and a security guard until he was laid off from both employers due to cut backs and lack of funding.  At the Picayune WIN Job Center he was offered assistance with job search, online applications, and tips on interviewing.  All this paid off with part time employment, but his goal was to find a job as a truck driver again. Mr. Buckley was also interested in starting his own Taxi Cab Company.  Again he came to the WIN Center for assistance.  He was given information about the Small Business Administration, local labor market information, and websites that could help in developing a business plan.  Mr. Buckley was awarded a small business loan to get his company started. His is the only cab company offering services in Pearl River County.  Currently, Mr. Buckley is the owner of Magnolia Express Taxi Cab Company.  His efforts to find a full time job took him to North Dakota and back to Mississippi where he is no longer an unemployed truck driver but a successful entrepreneur. – WIA Dislocated Worker Funding Stream


Mr. Gedaliah Lamar came to the Construction Skills Program after being laid-off. Mr. Lamar was offered employment by Southeast Cleaning Services while still in training.  The supervisor encouraged him to finish his training  Mr. Lamar graduated June 15, 2012 and started working on June 18th. He was the fourth student hired by this employer.– BP Oil Spill National Emergency Grant


Mr. Anthony Nelson, while preparing for his GED, attended Forklift and OSHA 10 Certification and Training. Anthony received his GED in April and is now employed as a Painter Helper at Gulf Ships in Gulfport, MS.  Certifications he earned were helpful in his employment search.   – WIA Youth Funding Stream


Mr. Christopher Ford graduated from Meridian High School in May 2012 and has always had a desire to become a Registered Nurse. He enrolled in the WIA Nurse Academy program to receive experience and knowledge about the nursing profession.  Chris received his Health Care Assistant certificate on June 15, 2012.  Chris is now a Certified Nurse Assistant and is enrolled in Meridian Community College and taking prerequisite classes for the RN degree program. – WIA Youth Funding Stream


Ms. Tiara Hamilton is 22 years old and finished high school with a certificate of completion, no diploma. She enrolled in the Construction Skills for the Future program.  Transportation was a challenge, as she walked to class every day.  She enrolled in the GED class and subsequently enrolled at Job Corps. – BP Oil Spill National Emergency Grant. Ms. Tiy McCray was laid off by Swift Oil & Gas in September of 2010 when the office where she worked was closed due to the oil spill. This was her second layoff within two years.  She realized she needed to do something different.  She had started college eight years prior but did not finish.  She realized it was time to return.  Having heard about the WIN Job Center’s ITA program, Tiy came into the office to inquire about the services.  She was enrolled into the Human Services Technology program at MGCCC Jackson County Campus in the spring semester of 2011.  She completed in December of the same year with a 4.0 GPA.  She was hired by Mississippi Regional Housing in November of 2011.  According to Tiy, she would not have been able to complete her education and obtain employment without this program. – WIA Dislocated Worker Funding Stream


Mr. Robert Nguyen, a fisherman, was impacted by the Deepwater Horizon incident in April 2010 and could no longer work as a fisherman.  Nguyen completed the application process for an Individual Training Account (ITA) at the Biloxi WIN Job Center and was approved under the NEG (National Emergency Grant) Oil Spill funds.  He completed welding training and is now employed at Ingalls Shipyard in Jackson County.– BP Oil Spill National Emergency Grant


September 10,2012
Northeast Mississippi Community College
WIN Job Center
2759 S. Harper Road
Corinth, MS 38834
Attention: Amanda Johnson

Dear Amanda:
Jason Livingston and Donald Burch joined Roll Form Group through the WIN Job center’s OJT training program. Both started working as mill operator trainees under the direction of established mill operators as well as the production manager.
Jason and Donald exhibited positive attitudes as well as an eagerness to learn more about plant operations as they progressed to full operator status. They learned various skills which include the utilization of measuring devices such as tape measure, caliper, micrometer and protractor. They have been certified to operate overhead cranes and forklifts, too.
Their day to day responsibilities also require the use of mig welders, basic carpentry and plasma cutting skills to facilitate efficient mill operations and material flow through the facility.
They have used their opportunity to learn on the job and continue to improve themselves at every level. Accordingly, their pay levels have reflected their enhanced knowledge and ski11 levels.
The On-the-Job training program has and will continue to provide opportunities for our employees and also adding to the success of our U.S. operations.
Sincerely,

Brandon S. Suga
General Manager - Iuka
Controller - Roll Form Group (U.S.) Inc.