Unified coordination of workforce development strategies seen as positive step by state, business leaders.

Accelerate Mississippi will serve as the unifying banner and organizational platform designed to propel a unified workforce development strategy and delivery program for Mississippi, improve economic opportunity, and expand workforce training ecosystems to meet current and emerging employment needs.

That announcement was made today by Ryan Miller. On March 31st, the State Workforce Investment Board approved Miller as Mississippi’s first Executive Director of the Office of Workforce Development.

“We’re here to connect Mississippians to economic opportunity and quality jobs by expanding best practices in workforce readiness and career training in a cohesive, unified manner,” said Ryan Miller, executive director of Accelerate MS, in a presentation today at the Mississippi Manufacturers Association’s 70th Annual Convention.

Miller went on to say:

“Our focus is clear – Accelerate MS will align our state’s educational, training, and economic development initiatives to better position and prepare Mississippi and Mississippians with more diverse, productive, and well-paying employment. We will be active and visible, optimizing existing programs, identifying opportunities for innovation, and expanding workforce training ecosystems across the state as sustainable resources and pathways to skilled employment and support economic growth.

“We will be energetic in working to grow economic prosperity in Mississippi by creating awareness of real-world job opportunities and connecting citizens with the training and educational pathways necessary for those quality jobs. Through innovation, embracing a common mission and robust, positive engagement with stakeholders statewide, we will serve current and emerging needs of business and industry.”

MMA was pleased with what they heard from Miller. Their leadership took the opportunity to welcome the change.

“We applaud today’s announcement as a critical step in creating synergy and enhancing close public and private coordination to increase economic opportunity across Mississippi,” said John McKay, president and CEO of the Mississippi Manufacturers Association. “Talent development is a priority issue for our members as our success depends upon access to a steady stream of qualified workers who can meet the current demand and also set the stage for future economic opportunities.”

Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves joined in to applaud Miller’s announcement. When he was appointed in March, Reeves said then that Miller had an enormous responsibility in overseeing Mississippi’s workforce growth strategy. The announcement today moves the efforts in a positive direction.

“Accelerate MS will champion advancements in Mississippi’s workforce development program,” said Governor Tate Reeves. “I’ve been clear in my belief that the potential for significant improvement in developing our workforce provides the very best opportunity for future sustained economic growth in Mississippi. I believe that there is no greater cause than working to improve household incomes for families and communities across our state and we will accomplish this by connecting Mississippians with a broad spectrum of good jobs while meeting the needs of business and industry.”

Other entities that are key to a coordinate effort to address workforces development in this state are the Mississippi Development Authority, the state’s economic development team, and the Mississippi Economic Council, who advocates for and represents the interest of businesses throughout the state.

“The Mississippi Development Authority welcomes with open arms the addition of Accelerate MS to the team effort of economic development in our state. The Accelerate MS model builds upon Mississippi’s current strengths and will allow us to better customize and rapidly deploy training systems to meet the needs business and industry,” said John Rounsaville, executive director of MDA. “Assuring a capable and ready workforce is key to economic development, especially given increased demands and utilization of advanced and emerging technology.”

Scott Waller with MEC agreed.

“The Mississippi Economic Council has long encouraged a cohesive approach to workforce planning and development,” said Scott Waller, president and CEO of MEC. “We look forward to working closely with Accelerate MS to enhance economic opportunity and quality of life for families, communities and businesses large and small across our state.”