Business and legislative leaders come together to discuss education, workforce development

Business and legislative leaders come together to discuss education, workforce development

JACKSON, MS (WLBT) - If you want to talk about how to grow and improve outcomes in the state, you can’t ignore the future workforce.

“As business leaders and as elected leaders, that’s what we need to be thinking about, is what’s going to happen 10,15, 20 years from now,” said Lt. Governor Tate Reeves.

And the Mississippi Economic Council is drawing attention to the idea that there are ways to reinforce the current and future workforce at the same time.

“It costs businesses and really the economy about 3 billion dollars a year because parents can’t find quality childcare," said Scott Waller, MEC President and CEO. "So, if we can find ways to make that part of the equation in what we’re doing. It’s not only going to give a stronger foundation to those kids moving forward, it’s going to also provide the opportunity to keep our citizens in the workforce today.”

Meanwhile, State Superintendent Dr. Carey Wright is releasing her annual report. And it shows how lawmakers have bumped up the funding for early childhood learning collaboratives in the last five years. And it’s paying off with students achieving at a higher level.

But some reforms that were passed are just starting to show progress.

“People started asking the question, ‘What are you doing with the money? Why aren’t we seeing results and improved student achievement?’" explained Senate Education chairman Gray Tollison. "We started focusing on the outputs instead of the inputs.”

The superintendent’s report shows improved graduation rates, an increase in math and English scores, several districts improving their letter grades, and improved reading scores since the third grade reading gate was passed.

Now, the economic council wants to ensure those students have the chance to identify the skills that will help them be the most successful when they graduate and identify possible careers.

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