From press reports
The Mississippi Economic Council (MEC) visited Winston County Feb. 18 to discuss and encourage Winston County business leaders about economic growth and its Blueprint Mississippi through a Regional Roundup of discussions.
The hour-long program was one of 27 such meetings held statewide in which MEC President and CEO Blake Wilson presents economic development plans from Gov. Phil Bryant, Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves and other legislative leaders by video message. Along with discussing with attendees the needs of the area and what the area strengths are.
In his message, Bryant said the goal of the roundups is to bring policy makers together with the public.
“These competitiveness studies really help us and in the league we compete in, which I call the SEC (Southeastern Conference) which is Florida, Alabama and Louisiana. We need it,” the governor said.
“This is a team sport and for us to grow, it begins at the local level,” he said.
More important to Wilson, however, was to receive feedback on what Winston County leaders feel is needed to progress economically.
Attendees of the Winston County Regional Roundup, which was held at Lake Tiak O’Khata, were able to electronically vote on topic issues Wilson brought to the screen. The poll results will be studied and presented to Gov. Bryant and his staff on what priorities should be addressed in the future.
“Blueprint Mississippi is the greatest opportunity for growth we’ve had, and that is why the state invested $10 million in this project that will drive public policy,” Wilson said.
The program includes four primary focus areas: economic competitiveness, educational achievement and workforce development, and resource management and technology commercialization.
The event was held in conjunction with the Louisville Rotary. It was co-hosted by Winston County Economic Development District Partnership.
During the Regional Round-Up meetings, which are sponsored by Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Mississippi, MEC focused on how the nine regions across the state can work together to build on their strengths and how each region is vital in helping Mississippi grow and prosper.
Attendees discussed and described not only the region’s strengths like people, natural resources and resilience but also discussed the best ways to improve economic competitiveness. Forty six percent of the attendees felt that a lack of skilled workforce was one of the biggest barriers to a better economy. Forty seven percent felt a better education was the greatest opportunity to make Winston County and Mississippi better.