(PENSACOLA, Fla.) The jobs are in Mississippi, the long lines are in Pensacola. Landing a job out there hasn't been easy and one of our areas largest employers says finding skilled workers to fill skilled jobs is becoming harder to do.
Ingalls Shipyard out of Pascagoula is one of those companies and the need to build ships for the Navy is taking its search to Pensacola where hundreds of job seekers stood in line Thursday. Robert Fields wants to work for Ingalls again, several years ago he lost his job when Ingalls cut its workforce. "With new contracts with the Navy they need that workforce to come back because a lot of it is spread out, " said Fields.
Ingalls has 10 ships under contract with the Navy. Before years end they need to fill 1,200 positions and plan to hire 4,000 more next year. "It's Pensacola today, it was San Diego two weeks ago, " said Carlos Lett with Ingalls. The ship builder admits skilled workers are hard to find. There's a demand. Many have moved away or have found jobs with companies like Austal in Mobile. "They're looking to go ahead and get their workforce back in here and they got to come a couple of hundred miles to get it ," said Fields. " By the way if you don't necessarily have those skills we can train you. We can help you get there, " said Lett.
Maurice Rocker went back to school but he's here today hoping to be a part of Ingalls' on the job training. "You get to see how many people are actually out of work and need to work so its really tough looking for work, " said Rocker.
The need for skilled workers is so great that Ingalls is willing to car pool. "We have vans that drive over here they commute everyday so the persons that we are talking to today it's not a requirement that they relocate and go to Pascagoula, " said Lett. Not a bad deal and in a still recovering economy.