Governor Reeves discussed ways to raise wages for workers as the economy reopens. He said one of the best ways to do that is through workforce development. He hopes to help get more Mississippians qualified for higher paying skilled jobs.

He also announced Patrick Sullivan as his appointment for Chairman of the State Workforce Investment Board (SWIB) to ensure Mississippi’s continued workforce development.

SWIB was created to develop and implement our state’s economic strategy to maximize our education, training, and employment service resources, balancing the coordination of public and private sectors. Having served as the Executive Director of the Governor’s Office of Recovery and Renewal under Governor Haley Barbour, the President of the Mississippi Energy Institute, and a member of SWIB, Patrick is an experienced, battle-tested leader capable of leading our efforts to invest in workforce training and grow our state’s economy to lift all Mississippi families.




“Workforce development and training have always been  my top priorities for our great state. Every Mississippian deserves the chance to work an honest job for good pay,” said Governor Reeves. “The current economic climate presents new challenges for our state, but we are committed to forging ahead for our people and increasing Mississippians take-home pay through business growth and workforce training. Patrick has an impressive record of fostering economic growth and overseeing economic development in our state. I am grateful to have him lead SWIB and bring together the public and private sectors to help move our state forward.”

“Governor Reeves has identified Mississippi’s mission to start the path towards higher average incomes. The best way to get Mississippians into higher paying jobs is to get more Mississippians qualified for high-pay, high-tech jobs,” said Patrick Sullivan. “This is a very achievable, measurable task, but to have success, intensive collaboration between employers, public institutions, and other workforce partners is critical. The mission succeeds when we all succeed. I look forward to the work ahead.”

Governor Reeves made the announcement during today’s press briefing, which you can view on our Facebook page here.



The Governor also discussed the next phase of our state’s efforts to rebuild through investment in our workforce training as we work to come out of this pandemic.

“I am proposing a substantial investment in workforce training facility capacity expansions where our training institutions can quickly upgrade facilities or add equipment to train more Mississippians with skills that lead to higher paying careers,” said Governor Reeves at the press briefing. “The best way to get Mississippians into higher paying jobs is to get more Mississippians qualified for the high-tech, higher paying jobs many businesses demand today. I am asking the legislature to let us use CARES Act funds to help these Mississippians to re-enter the workforce stronger.”



Included in the workforce proposal, Governor Reeves encourages as much on-the-job training opportunities as possible for those out of work and seeking opportunities. For employers willing to start employees at a competitive salary, the Governor is proposing to partner with these companies to cover a portion of the wages during the on-the-job training period through the end of 2020.
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Patrick Sullivan has served as President of the Mississippi Energy Institute (MEI), a private, non-profit business created to support research and energy policy to foster economic growth in Mississippi, since 2011. Patrick concurrently serves as President of the Southeast Oil and Gas Association, which began operating January 1, 2020. As a result of MEI’s work, The Skills Foundation of Mississippi was established in 2018 to develop methods to raise awareness for high-demand skilled trades and encourage more Mississippians to enter training programs.

Prior to his work at the Mississippi Energy Institute, Patrick served both as Policy Advisor and as Executive Director of Recovery and Renewal for Governor Haley Barbour. Serving as Policy Advisor to Governor Barbour from 2006-2011, he had oversight of issues pertaining to energy, transportation, environment, agriculture, natural resources, and economic development. In July 2010, he was named Executive Director of the Governor’s Office of Recovery and Renewal, which was the primary entity responsible for coordinating disaster assistance, overseeing state-level response and assistance for the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, the April 2011 tornado disasters, and the 2011 Mississippi River flood.

Patrick is a graduate of Mississippi State University with a Master of Agribusiness Management and resides in Madison, MS, with wife, Elizabeth, and two sons, Garrett and Jake.