For the second year in a row, the Mississippi Public Service Commission has named Atmos Energy a “Mississippi Champion” for their one-hundred percent employment rate under the Commission’s Hire Mississippi Rule.
The goal of Hire Mississippi is to increase Mississippians’ access to utility contracts, create a more transparent and open bid process, boost economic development and increase employment in the state. The Hire Mississippi Rule requires aggressive notification and reporting by the state’s rate-regulated, investor-owned utilities so they can reach and award contracts to more Mississippi contractors. In the event an out-of-state firm is selected for a project, the company must explain that decision.
Under the Hire Mississippi Rule, utilities are also required to publish quarterly notices in local newspapers to advertise the opportunity to be on the Hire Mississippi List and must explain to Mississippi contractors the bidding process, qualifications, and other procedures for the awarding of contracts. Utility companies must also send notices of bidding opportunities to businesses that have registered on the Hire Mississippi List.
A utility is designated a “Mississippi Champion” that employs seventy-five percent (75%) of those employed pursuant to resident contractor contracts that are Mississippi residents.
“This is an exciting day as we congratulate Atmos for their partnership and support of Mississippi contractors,” Public Service Commission Chairman Dane Maxwell said. “Local business is what makes this state and country run and l appreciate Atmos’ dedication to hiring Mississippi businesses as they have expanded their services throughout the state. As long as I am at the Commission, supporting economic development and growing Mississippi companies will continue to be a top priority.”
“When I wrote the Hire Mississippi Rule in 2017, I knew that there were skilled, qualified workers in our state that could do this work and do it well,” said Commissioner Brandon Presley. “Back then, I saw license plates at job sites on trucks from all over the country doing work on Mississippi projects, paid for by Mississippians. Today, there are far more Mississippi workers working on Mississippi projects. That has been my goal from day one; put Mississippians to work. Atmos is an outstanding example of how a utility company can keep project work and project dollars right here in the state. They are truly deserving of being called a ‘Mississippi Champion.’”
“We appreciate the efforts of Atmos Energy for keeping Mississippians at work and on the job in our state,” Commissioner Brent Bailey said. “Their efforts and the efforts of others through the Hire Mississippi initiative continue to contribute to the economic growth and development of our communities.”
“Workforce development has been and will continue to be a priority of the Mississippi Legislature. Utilizing our state’s existing workforce and building career opportunities for all Mississippians is of the utmost importance as it leads to greater economic stability and prosperity now and for generations to come. I commend Atmos Energy on their stellar record of hiring 100% Mississippi contractors as well as their commitment to growing the workforce and employment in our state,” said House Speaker Philip Gunn.
“Mississippians have some of the greatest assets in the world, and chief among them is our people. When we work together, there is nothing that we cannot accomplish as a State. We are grateful for Atmos’s commitment to increasing our labor force participation rate and hiring Mississippi companies,” said Lieutenant Governor Delbert Hosemann.
“The Hire Mississippi Award is affirmation that our investment in Mississippi businesses are having a meaningful impact on the state’s economy,” said David Gates, Mississippi Division President for Atmos Energy. “Atmos Energy appreciates the recognition from the Public Service Commission. We will continue to be focused on providing first class natural gas service and continuing our work with Mississippi contractors so they have the ability to grow and succeed.”