3,000 apply for CCA positions

Published 12:00 am Friday, April 24, 2009

NATCHEZ — CCA officials got a bit more than they bargained for at this week’s job fair, but they aren’t complaining.

Warden Vance Laughlin said Corrections Corporation of America was expecting approximately 1,000 people to submit job applications Monday through Wednesday.

More than 3,000 people applied.

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Those 3,000 people are fighting for exactly 409 jobs, most of which will be filled from the fair, Laughlin said.

“We had 49 (Registered Nurses) apply yesterday. We are hiring eight,” Laughlin said.

He said he was comfortable the prison will be able to do most of its hiring from the job fair’s applicant pool. But some administrative positions will be filled from within the company or by recruitment.

And those applying for jobs now are taking advantage of a once in a lifetime opportunity, Laughlin said.

“Ninety-five percent of these positions will never be available again,” he said. “Case managers, for example — I’ll never hire another case manager from outside again.”

Future openings will be filled by promoting employees from within the Adams County facility or from other CCA prisons, Laughlin said.

Two assistant wardens, two chiefs and one assistant chief have already been hired. These employees, along with a facility controller who has not been hired, will work with Laughlin to compose the executive staff.

The 2,658-bed prison is expected to begin housing prisoners in late July. The inmates will be minimum-security federal prisoners, most of whom will be illegal immigrants.

Once open, the facility will be making 9,000 meals a day, offering an educational program for prisoners and leading religious and craft programs, among other things.

The prison’s perimeter fence encloses 88 acres on U.S. 84 near Cranfield. The distance from one side of the site to the other is approximately a quarter mile, and the walk around the outside of the fence is a little over a mile, Laughlin said.

“What we are bringing into this county is resistant to fluctuations in the national economy,” he said. “We are hoping we are a catalyst to some growth spurts in some areas.”

Laughlin was the speaker at the Natchez Trace Kiwanis Club Thursday.