/Education, roads dominate Capitol discussions

Education, roads dominate Capitol discussions

JACKSON — On Tuesday, the Mississippi Legislature met at the Capitol to begin its 133rd regular legislative session. Issues surrounding education and roads dominate the conversation Lt. Governor. Tate Reeves, House Speaker Philip Gunn and others are pushing for a reallocation to the Mississippi Adequate Education Program (the state’s education funding formula). A new bill is being developed after a failed attempt to amend the school formula by the Legislature in 2017. The Mississippi Economic Council heard from several officials, including the Governor. Reeves and Gunn, as well as Secretary of State Delbert Hosmann, were all present at the Mississippi Economic Council’s annual Capital Day. These officials shared their views on improving Mississippi’s job market with a more educated workforce, and what that would mean for the state. Gunn spoke out in support of having a skilled workforce for business leaders. Gunn stated, “If our workforce has the right education and training, we will prosper.” “If it isn’t, we won’t.” Reeves told students at Ole Miss that although he doesn’t believe it is the government’s job to create jobs, he believes that it is their role to foster the private sector. This is due to the quality and standard of our education systems, he said. Reeves stated, “If we want to convince people in the private sector invest capital and create job opportunities, they have to believe that there is a workforce who can fill those jobs.” “To be able provide that workforce, it is necessary to increase the educational attainment of our citizens,” said Reeves. He explained that Mississippi’s high school graduation rate has nearly matched the national average. This has enabled 3,000 more people to obtain a high school diploma and to be able to attend one Mississippi community college before they enter the workforce. MEC’s business leaders are concerned about the educated workforce. Yates Construction Company CEO William Yates, MEC Chairman, stated that if we don’t have the right workforce, then our businesses will perish. A panel of business leaders participated in the Capital Day’s discussion about regionalism and its impact on workforce development. Ashley Edwards, Gulf Coast Business Council-One Coast; Bill Hannah, East Mississippi Business Development Corporation; Brenda Lathan, Golden Triangle Development Link; and Michael Philpot, Delta Council-Delta Strong. Scott Waller was also named executive director of MEC.