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American Staffing Association forms state council

PrintBy LISA MONTI

Staffing firms around Mississippi employed an average of 26,646 temporary and contract workers per week in 2015, and those workers earned an average of $30,909. During 2013, the state’s staffing firms had total sales of $1 billion.

Now a new staffing and recruiting organization has been formed in the state that aims to inform Mississippians about job opportunities in the industry and businesses about the benefits of partnering with a staffing company, and generate revenue for the state’s economy.

The American Staffing Association formed the ASA Mississippi Council in February as part of ASA’s national network of professionals in the staffing and recruit-ing industry. The new council represents the industry in working with lawmakers and regulators, businesses and employees, community leaders and the media.

The group had its first general meeting in February and Brad Bounds, chairman of the ASA Mississippi Council, called the gathering a success.

“The ASA Mississippi Council Symposium was a phenomenal event to kick off this new professional organization,” said Bounds. “More than 30 of the staffing in-dustry’s key leaders from Mississippi and surrounding states attended the sympo-sium to gain valuable insight from the speakers, as well as to network and share information and best practices.”

The group has identified the initiatives for the year, and is looking at ways that staffing, recruiting and workforce solutions companies can help put Mississippians to work.

Sarah Wolfe with Professional Staffing Group of Jackson is the council’s vice chair. She said the council has 17 members who cover all areas of the state.

“The purpose mainly is to be a support to each other and let people in government as well as individual citizens and community college boards know that we are a vi-able option to finding new employees and jobs,” she said. “We are here to partner with employers in creative ways to help both job candidates and entities such as community colleges.”

The council also facilitates statewide professional networking and educational opportunities for its industry professionals.

Since the meeting, she said, members have kept the momentum going by communicating with each other on things such as sharing best practices for training their staff.

Among the council’s initiatives is increasing awareness about what the staffing industry does, including temporary and contract staffing, recruiting and permanent placement, outsourcing and outplacement and human resource consulting. Mem-bers can place a range of employees, from industrial workers to degreed profes-sionals.

The council aims to put more Mississippians in jobs by working with workforce development boards and community colleges. Members plan to engage closely with the governor’s office to support the Mississippi Works Initiative.

Wolfe said staffing agencies such as the one she works for are aware of the needs of employers and she hopes the council can work with community colleges and others to match employer needs with the skill sets students are being taught.

“We are frequently hearing from employers that they need somebody with certain skills,” she said. “It would be wonderful to be in that loop.”

Nationally, the average weekly number of temporary and contract employees was 3.3 million in 2015. They averaged 11 weeks on each job and earned an average of $35,292. The 20,000 staffing and recruiting firms nationwide had annual sales of $136 billion.

To learn more about the ASA Mississippi Council, visit americanstaffing.net/asa-councils.

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