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MDES Loses Funds, Cuts Staff

MDES Loses Funds, Cuts Staff


Faced with a $6 million funding shortfall, the Mississippi Department of Employment Security will release 40 non-status team members by the end of July.


Given changing customer demands and available-federal funding, the agency expects affected employees to be able to apply for more than 30 open positions.


Jobs — which will vary by region of the state — will be announced internally and employees will undergo a competitive interviewing process.


“We’re disappointed to lose team members, but this is a very necessary step to maintain the financial health of our organization,” MDES Executive Director Les Range said. “We’re encouraging team members to apply for the openings we’re announcing. Because of the geographic locations of the available jobs, we’re unsure how many people will be left without jobs.


“Our team has worked diligently to ensure we’re still able to meet customer needs across the state and provide high-level customer service,” Range said. “No local offices will be closed.”


Another 34 temporary team members were let go. Those short-term jobs were funded by one-time grant money that was exhausted. Additionally, a few team members have chosen to retire and some of those positions will not be filled.


A federally funded state agency, MDES is required to comply with the federal government’s strict spending guidelines. Agency funds are dedicated to specific programs and can’t be spent in other ways.


In recent years, the agency has gotten additional federal funding to help with Hurricane Katrina recovery. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act provided another source of temporary funding. The Workforce Investment Act, a key source of agency funding, has been reduced substantially.



 “With these programs ending and being reduced, we expect to lose more than $6 million in federal funding,” Range said. “In anticipation of these cuts, our team has spent the past year reducing expenses.


“We’ve done everything from turning off lights and copying on both sides of paper to renegotiating and not renewing contracts to reduce expenses,” Range said. “In the past year, we’ve saved nearly $7 million.”


Several areas of the agency are affected by these cuts.


Location                        Workers           

Call center                        1                                   

State office                        10

Brookhaven                        2

Canton                                    1

Carthage                        1

Columbia                        1

Corinth                        3

Clarksdale                        1

DeSoto County            2

Golden Triangle            2

Greenville                        1

Grenada                        3

Hancock County            1

Hattiesburg                        1

Indianola                        1

Louisville                        1

Meridian                        1

McComb                        1

Natchez                        1

Pascagoula                        1

Picayune                        1

Tunica                                    1

Vicksburg                        2

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