The Mississippi Economic Council (MEC) is made up of a diverse group of business owners across the state. They are essentially the voice of business across the state of Mississippi. One of the organization’s most popular events is the annual Capital Day. This year it is scheduled to be held on January 9.
Capital Day is the premier opportunity for MEC Members to meet in Jackson at the start of the Legislative Session. It allows them to get up to date on what issues lie in front of lawmakers while providing them feedback about some of the issues that are important to the group.
“Traditionally it has always been on the first Thursday of the session. This year that is the same day as the inaugurals of the statewides,” said President and CEO of MEC Scott Waller.
The day will start off at the Marriott downtown with remarks by Governor-elect Tate Reeves as well as incoming Secretary of State Michael Watson. Later in the day, MEC will host a panel focused on looking at ways to create more jobs for young people.
“I think there has been a lot said about the need for having a plan for talent and retention of our states best and brightest and I think that’s what we want to focus on,” said Waller. Last year, the group focused on early childhood education. Waller said these topics aren’t specifically linked to any particular legislation.
Everyone will then be transported to the Capitol to hear from Speaker of the House Philip Gunn and incoming Lt. Governor Delbert Hosemann. He said this is just another way for the public to gather insight from state leaders.
One issue moving into the 2020 Legislative Session, Waller said they are hoping to promote legislation that will provide further funding for high school students to take the ACT Work Keys Assessment. This is an evaluation of work readiness skills moving into the post secondary education realm.
“ACT Work Keys gives them the information on work readiness and by doing that there may be a technical program, industry certification program, that allows them to really understand that ‘hey I can be successful doing this,'” Waller said. He said many companies moving into Mississippi require a Work Readiness certificate before moving forward with the application process for a new hire. Their goal would be for all students to have the availability to take the ACT Work Keys test as well as the standard ACT for university entrance.
As a whole Waller believes the state is moving in the right direction to create work ready communities. Waller said MEC always plans to play defense against legislation that could be detrimental to the business community while promoting good legislation.
Waller said members represent all areas of the state and that Capitol Day is one of the most popular events that they have. He believes it is a great way for members to connect with their legislators.
“We are the state Chamber of Commerce, meaning we are a business organization. We are supported solely by the dollars our members pay in dues,” said Waller. There are no federal or state dollars that go into the group. Waller said this makes them a clear voice of business in the state.
Membership is as easy as selecting which level of resources the organization provides that you would like to receive and pay those dues. Waller said MEC is focused on pinpointing the broad-based issues so that public policy can create a positive impact for businesses.
The event is open to the public and you can register or become a sponsor HERE.