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New Program May Ease Job-Searching
By Crystel Bailey
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Recent college graduates must compete for jobs, but a new program may ease job-searching for those interested in a career in furniture management.
"Professionals in furniture industries in Mississippi and North Carolina realized that the management level was filled by older employees. They wanted to attract younger business people to the furniture industry by providing a program of study at the college level," said Teressa Hooper, coordinator for the Furniture Management Program at Mississippi State University.
By providing classroom and cooperative education to future furniture professionals, employers hope to get a better quality employee who will take less time to train. Students hope to get a head start in finding employment.
Because the furniture industry is so big, it might be surprising to note that there are only a few schools in the nation that offer a four- year furniture degree program. Prospective students in Mississippi who wish to gain expertise in the furniture industry do not have to travel out of state because MSU is one of these schools.
"Other colleges in North Carolina offer certain aspects of furniture business, but Mississippi State is the only school that provides education in all areas of the furniture industry along with the four-year business degree in furniture management," Hooper said.
Furniture students at MSU can specialize in administrative management, advertising, customer service, human resource management, inventory control, production management, purchasing, sales and transportation.
Besides taking business, furniture production and wood technology classes, students gain knowledge in furniture management through internships and co-ops in furniture companies throughout the state and the rest of the country, and by touring furniture facilities.
"We encourage our students to work at the Tupelo Furniture Market in the spring and summer. Students also intern at companies, such as Action-Lane Industries in Tupelo, Franklin in Houston, Miskelly in Pearl and Gallery Furniture in Houston, Texas," Hooper said.
Chad Mims, sales trainee at Franklin and a May graduate from MSU with a bachelor's degree in business and an emphasis in furniture management, said that working at the Tupelo Furniture Markets and co-oping at Action-Lane Industries in Pontotoc helped him in his classes and in getting a job.
"I learned how furniture was made from beginning to end, from assembling it together to shipping it out. When I got to my furniture classes, I could relate to what they were teaching me because I had learned about furniture in my co-ops," Mims said.
He said touring furniture factories and co-oping enabled him to communicate better during job interviews because he knew first- hand about the furniture industry.
"The Furniture Management Program gave me an edge in getting my job at Franklin. I made contacts before I interviewed, and I got hired because of my experience," Mims said.
For more information about the Furniture Management Program, contact Teressa Hooper at (662) 325-9082 or at firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit the College of Business and Industry Web site at www.cbi.msstate.edu.
Contact: Teressa Hooper, (662) 325-9082