Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves speaks about workforce development plan in Meridian

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MERIDIAN, Miss. (WTOK) - Lieutenant Governor and Candidate for Governor Tate Reeves touted workforce development at Meridian Community College Monday. He discussed a plan that would invest 100 million dollars in a “Modern Mississippi Workforce.”

“Work is changing. The jobs that paid well 50 years ago, are not the jobs of today, and skilled trades are soaring,” Reeves says. “We need the next generation of Mississippi workers to be equipped to take on any job.”

Despite record-low unemployment in Mississippi, there are still challenges the state faces.

“We still have too many people in our state, between the ages of 18 and 65 that are able-bodied that are not in the work force, and one of the reasons they are not in the work force is because they don’t have the skills that are needed to provide the jobs of the next 50 years,” Reeves explains. “And so we want to ensure that we have invested capital in a distribution network like our community colleges that do a fantastic job in so many areas, but certainly work force training is one of them, to make sure that we have the necessary capacity to train the people of the next 50 years.”

75 million dollars out of the 100 million would go to community colleges to help modernize their workforce development programs.

Meridian Community College President Dr. Tom Huebner says workforce development programs such as the ones that are offered in the MCC-Riley Workforce Development Center are important for the local economy.

“We have an addition to [the MCC-Riley Workforce Development Center] that’s going up, it’s 10,500 square feet that will be focused specifically on advanced manufacturing and precision machining,” Dr. Huebner says. “These are programs we’ve received some grant dollars to help us support and they contribute to very specific needs right here in our community.”

Reeves says that his plan will be paid for using money the state already has in its Capital Expense Fund.

Tate Reeves faces Bill Waller, Jr. and Robert Foster in the Republican primary for governor.