A new job training program the state rolled out to fight unemployment brought on by the coronavirus pandemic has had an excellent first month, gov. Tate Reeves said Thursday.

 “ReSkill Mississippi is already helping thousands of Mississippians. We have expanded training capacity in our community college system, and I encourage any Mississippian wanting a better career to enroll,” he said. “I also encourage more companies to sign up and receive cost assistance for new employees receiving on-the-job training. We must continue to fight this pandemic on the economic front just as aggressively as we are fighting it on the healthcare front.”

ReSkill Mississippi is meant to help workers and employers hurt by the virus by providing incentives for employers to train apprentices for high-skill position and by providing free training from the state’s community colleges.

Reeves urged those who feel they can benefit from joining the program to sign up online at reskillms.com.

“The work of ReSkill Mississippi is far from over. ... We hope this is simply the beginning,” he said. “This is a tremendous opportunity, and I want all of you to take advantage of it..

State Workforce Investment Board member and president of the Mississippi Energy Institute Patrick Sullivan said that although the state has fared better in unemployment than the nation as a whole, with two-thirds of the state’s lost jobs have come back, the program should continue to help.

“We have long had more skilled jobs available than people trained to fill them, but this program can help thousands of Mississippians retrain for the skills needed for higher paying jobs," Sullivan said. "I believe this program will play an important role in sustaining a vibrant and growing Mississippi economy, and it is the type of effort that Mississippi should look to continue long after the CARES Act and the COVID-19 pandemic are gone."

Sullivan noted that 71 employers have joined the program so far and 4,300 people have joined the program, with 2,000 having been placed in a training program or in a job with training in the first month of the program.

Area virus cases continue to stay relatively low while the state stagnates on daily case additions and deaths.

“Overall, we have seen considerable progress over the past few weeks,” State Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs said. “Our efforts have been fruitful even in the context of outbreaks in college towns.

“Let’s keep our guard up and notice that we have vulnerabilities.”

Pike County saw an increase of just one case Thursday to 1,181 cases since the beginning of the pandemic, while Lincoln jump by five cases to 1,014. Lawrence and Wilkinson counties both added three cases to 417 and 287 respectively. Amite, Franklin and Walthall counties all reported no additional cases on Thursday, leaving them at 286,182 and 579 respectively.

The state added 517 cases Thursday for a total 88,322 cases since the beginning of the pandemic with 33 additional deaths totalling 2,565.

No area counties reported deaths on Thursday.

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