$50 million workforce training bill looks strong in homestretch

Senate Bill 2457, along with the House version (HB 911) which has been rolled into the Senate bill, is a session priority of both Gov. Phil Bryant and the Mississippi Economic Council. Mississippi can’t expect to compete with its Southern neighbors without beefing up workforce training and streamlining how the training is offered, Bryant and the statewide organization say.

The bill got a unanimous nod from the House Tuesday. Te Senate is expected to send it on to a conference committee, said Blake Wilson, CEO of the MEC, the state’s chamber of commerce.

SB 2457 diverts $25 million a year over the next two years from unused unemployment compensation fund money.

In announcing SB 2457 in January, Bryant said the unemployment compensation fund has built up the reserves as the jobless rate declined from 9.8 percent three years ago to today’s 7.2 percent. If unemployment should suddenly begin rising, the money would go back into the compensation fund.

As final work and votes on the workforce training bill near, the MEC’s Wilson wants to see a show of support from business people and other Mississippians.

“Workforce needs are #1…whether in manufacturing, technology, health care or hospitality,” Wilson said in an email blast late Wednesday.

MBJ
3/16/15