Business

Website offers new way to find high-paying jobs in Mississippi

Students at the Jackson County Technology Center in Vancleave and other Coast schools were introduced to the Get on the Grid website in 2015. A digital campaign is under way to reach students and parents on their cell phones and let them know about high tech jobs open to them in Mississippi.
Students at the Jackson County Technology Center in Vancleave and other Coast schools were introduced to the Get on the Grid website in 2015. A digital campaign is under way to reach students and parents on their cell phones and let them know about high tech jobs open to them in Mississippi. meperez@sunherald.com File

Mississippi Energy Institute created a website called Get on the Grid last year to help students and their parents learn about opportunities for good-paying jobs in Mississippi.

“Until recently, we haven’t had a way to test and see how effective it is,” said Patrick Sullivan, president of MEI.

A $200,000 federal grant administered through the Mississippi Department of Employment Security is determining who is using the website and how to draw more traffic.

A digital campaign is taking the message to where teens and young adults look for information — their cellphones and other mobile devices.

“So far, the answer is a resounding yes that this type of product is effective in raising awareness of jobs out there,” Sullivan said.

Total traffic to the site was averaging 11.1 visits per day before the digital campaign, said Garrett McInnis, vice president of development at MEI. In the 11 weeks since the campaign began on Oct. 3, it attracted 34,727 visits, or an average of 428 a day, just from South Mississippi and the Jackson area.

Get on the Grid features jobs in energy, manufacturing and utilities. These are some of the fastest-growing, highest-paid and most in-demand jobs in the state, with well over 100,000 openings in these fields in Mississippi.

Some of the jobs require a college degree, but Sullivan points out that many of the jobs at companies such as Chevron, Rolls-Royce and Mississippi Power require only a year or two of technical training.

“Get hired. Get trained. Get on the Grid,” is one of the messages on the site.

Besides buzz words, McInnis said they are trying various color schemes on the site, and found that green performs much better than blue.

The study shows almost 60 percent of Facebook referrals come from females, and 17 percent of all traffic is from returning visitors who discovered the site and take another look.

Traffic increased over Thanksgiving, and MIS is watching to see if the same thing happens over Christmas, as students begin to more seriously look at what they will do after graduation.

The study runs through April and MIS will work with the state Department of Education to go into classrooms on the Coast and in Jackson to ask students about their career choices and the website.

Moore Community House in Biloxi is getting a multi-million dollar grant to help further its efforts to provide high-paying jobs for women.

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