Thanks to a concerted effort from the Mississippi business community and the work of organizations like the Mississippi Economic Council, we won’t have to worry about a brand, spankin’ new state labor department emerging from the 2000 legislative session.
But, it will be back, and we’ll be fighting the same old issue all over again in 2001. 2002. 2003. Meanwhile, workforce training consolidation, the only redeeming provision proposed in the labor department bills, has been squashed — just like it was last year.
Powerful interests in the Legislature seem hell-bent against uniting the state’s worker training programs under the auspices of our community colleges — the most logical place for such training.
In our brave new information economy, education is much more critical than it ever has been. We need workers with a variety of high-tech skills, who can move from job to job within an organization and compete with any worker, anywhere on the planet.
Globalization has made Mississippi not one of 50 states, but rather, one in a million different locations a company can choose to move or expand. You might not like it, but that is the reality. Sticking your head in the Sun-N-Sand will not get the job done. The competition for jobs has never been more important to the economic well being of Mississippi, and yet, we continue to have an overwhelmingly anti-business Legislature.
A skilled workforce is the bottom line if we want to attract real jobs for Mississippians. Until we break free from the wretched status quo politics we now have, we will keep losing to Alabama, Tennessee, ad infinitum, ad nauseum.