The Mississippi Economic Council will hold its annual Capital Day this Thursday, Jan. 5 to help kick off the 2023 legislative session.
Attendees will get a chance to intermingle with business, community, and state leaders to discuss ideas and issues that could help propel Mississippi forward. This year’s speakers include Lt. Governor Delbert Hosemann, House Speaker Philip Gunn, as well as a handful of other lawmakers.
During a recent interview on The Gallo Show, MEC President Scott Waller discussed some of the council’s priorities going into this year’s session, one of which is finding additional ways to provide Mississippians with an opportunity to acquire high-paying employment without having to obtain a four-year college degree.
Waller believes industry certifications could bolster the state’s workforce with individuals who would typically not get a chance in some fields due to educational requirements.
“We’re starting to see a real emphasis being put on increasing educational attainment at the secondary level, but we’re valuing every one of the steps equally. An industry certification that gets someone into a high-paying job should be equally as valuable as that bachelor’s degree,” Waller said. “There are so many opportunities, so many different pathways for people to be successful and we’ve just got to change the stigma that if you’re not getting that four-year college degree, then you’re not being successful.”
Another way in which Waller would like to see legislators capitalize on retaining young talent in Mississippi is by emphasizing the affordable cost of living as well as the family-friendly element the state brings to the table.
“The people who are here that either decided to stay or come back, one of the biggest draws was family. The other is that there’s a great cost of living here,” Waller continued. “Those are things that we feel like we can capitalize on long-term to help us really continue to give opportunities to young professionals to be here, which will ultimately grow our population at the same time.”
Capital Day will kick off at the Mississippi Trade Mart in downtown Jackson at 9 a.m. before moving over to the state capitol building. For more information on the event, click here.
The full interview with Scott Waller can be watched below.