JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - Those working to further improve Mississippi’s numbers on future economy scorecards will tell you that workforce development is key.
“There’s never been a stronger focus on creating the type of workforce that’s ready for today and the jobs of the future than now,” said Mississippi Economic Council President and CEO Scott Waller.
The Mississippi Economic Council hopes to see more schools and communities looking to the programs like ACT WorkKeys. While the ACT gauges college readiness, WorkKeys gauges career readiness.
“WorkKeys is kind of like the foundational step," explained Waller. "Number one, it assesses where you are in your ability to enter the workforce. You then have to go get the additional training for whatever pathway you choose. But at least you have that foundation to build on.”
Those who take the tests get a career readiness certificate that serves as a credential for their essential work skills. And this part of the scorecard shows there are opportunities to make an average of 53-thousand dollars without a four year degree.
“The Community Colleges are colleges yet you can finish in a year, two years, have little to no debt and be ready for a high paying job," said Mississippi Community College Board Executive Director and chair of the State Workforce Investment Board Dr. Andrea Mayfield. "And that’s what we want. People with careers that can sustain them and their families for years to come.”
Marshand Crisler works with a Jackson non-profit to help connect people with training and jobs.
“The market is very attractive but unfortunately the skill set is lacking in certain areas," Crisler notes. "In order to maintain that encouragement we have to make sure we’re putting programs in place to get these people hired.”
More than 40,000 jobs are currently listed on the Mississippi Works website. The site also contains information about job fairs scheduled around the state