News Release

Mississippi Recognized for Full Employment Best Practices

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February 3, 2014

In recognition of Mississippi’s national leadership in helping people get jobs, the Mississippi Department of Employment Security has received the 2013 Full Employment Best Practices Award from the American Institute for Full Employment.

“This award is a clear sign of the state’s commitment to getting Mississippians back to work as soon as possible while they are receiving unemployment benefits,” MDES Executive Director Mark Henry said. “The goal is to help people move quickly from an unemployment check to a paycheck.”

MDES won the award because of its success in reemploying people who have filed for unemployment insurance.

“The Mississippi Department of Employment Security has developed the system, policies and commitment to proactively engage and assist unemployment insurance recipients in becoming more knowledgeable about the local job market and developing skills in how to effectively look for work,” AIFE President John Courtney said. “In doing so, they [MDES] are addressing an important root cause of long-term unemployment.”

Between 2010 and 2013, MDES reduced the average length of unemployment benefits from 19 weeks to 15 weeks, resulting in savings of about $5.6 million. MDES achieved that reduction by helping more Mississippians get jobs sooner.

MDES’s successful reemployment efforts are part of Mississippi Works, an innovative initiative begun by Governor Phil Bryant to help every Mississippian who wants a job get a job.

“Mississippi Works brings together state agencies and the private sector to encourage job creation and economic growth,” Bryant said. “What sets Mississippi apart from the rest of the country is that we use technology and media like mobile apps to connect employers with job seekers – anyone, anytime, anywhere.”

Mississippi Works is a real-time, web-based system that enables MDES to operate in a proactive and dynamic way. The system identifies Mississippians who have filed for unemployment benefits and then matches those individuals with appropriate jobs that need to be filled in the state.

Mississippi Works was developed by a partnership between MDES and nSPARC, a nationally recognized research center at Mississippi State University.