Workforce Development Gearwheels employment unemployment

(The Center Square) – Economic development is at the heart of a trio of bills signed by Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves this week.

The governor announced new workforce development efforts have become reality with his signature being placed on House Bill 1517, House Bill 1006, and Senate Bill 2723.

“Since I signed legislation creating the Office of Workforce Development, we’ve continued building a pipeline that will streamline the training of a next generation workforce,” Reeves said in a release. “All this is happening through a comprehensive approach of legislation, coordination with local ecosystems, grant investments that are fueling skills-focused development, and more. From teacher pay raises to workforce investments, we are creating an environment that ensures our labor pool is prepared and equipped with the skills needed to take on the jobs of tomorrow.”

Reeves praised the work AccelerateMS completed in respect to staffing issues, awarded $16.6 million in WET Fund special projects, and widened technical training programs across the state at community colleges.

According to the release, Reeves said the state now will have eight regional ecosystems and the workforce will be tailored to each region’s needs.

Good Job, which is a new technology pilot program, Reeves said, will use technology and machine learning that will connect jobs with state residents.

The House bills will funnel American Rescue Plan Act dollars to workforce development projects, including $32 million for training in health care, emerging sectors, logistics, supply chains, and populations that feature veterans, currently or formerly incarcerated individuals, and single parents.

According to the release, $20 million will be earmarked for health-care training infrastructure and an additional $8 million will be spent on career coaches.

Under Senate bill 2723, Mississippi Works funds will have more flexibility in an effort to support local economic development needs. The bill also widens collaboration between Accelerate Mississippi, the Department of Human Services, and the Department of Corrections.

Associate Editor

Brent Addleman is an Associate Editor and a veteran journalist with more than 25 years of experience. He has served as editor of newspapers in Pennsylvania and Texas, and has also worked at newspapers in Delaware, Maryland, New York, and Kentucky.