Pascagoula, Miss. (WPMI) Pastor Michael Jackson of Aimwell Baptist Church remembers it all too well.
"I started off in college with student loans and I had kids in college with student loans," said the Reverend "Kids come here, they get paid off the bat!"
"Here" is Ingalls Shipbuilding in Pascagoula, Mississippi, which played host to Rev. Jackson and other clergy and leaders.
The reason may surprise you.
Ingalls wants them to preach the word to their followers that there are jobs waiting for them at the shipyard.
And something else.
"A very good paycheck," said Edmond Hughes, vice president of human relations, "and very good benefits! And there are career opportunities available through shipbuilding."
And here's something else that might surprise you.
These ministers and pastors and community leaders aren't from Mississippi.
They're from Alabama!
Because, for the ship building industry along the Gulf Coast, there are no state lines!
"Ingalls is one example of where we work to try to bring people from the community to the jobs," says Brett Hall with Alabama's Department of Agriculture and Industries. "It's a very bottoms up approach."
His coworker, Bobby Cunningham, said you can't overlook churches as a good resource for local blue collar industries.
"Most of the time, when people come to church, there is something going on within them," said Cunningham, "a life change, and they're serious about things now. And I think Ingalls is looking for those types of people."
But Edmond Hughes warned... it's not a cakewalk.
It's real work.
"On certain days it can be extremely cold, during the summer it gets extremely hot," he admitted, "and we want individuals to understand the conditions, the environment."
But Rev. Cleveland McFarland of Mobile's St. Peter Baptist Church said, for some, that work will be an answer to a prayer.
"And anyone I know that is qualified and of good character, I would want to introduce them."
Now the pastors and leaders will go back to their flocks with what they learned.
Alabama's Department of Agriculture and Industries will follow up with job fairs in their neighborhoods.