Gov. Reeves holds 2:30 news conference

JACKSON, Miss. (WTOK) - Gov. Tate Reeves held a press briefing to give an update on the state's ongoing strategy to deal with COVID-19.

At the briefing, Reeves announced Patrick Sullivan as his appointment for chair of the State Workforce Investment Board (SWIB) to ensure Mississippi's continued workforce development.

SWIB was created to develop and implement Mississippi's economic strategy to maximize education, training, and employment service resources, balancing the coordination of public and private sectors.

Patrick has also served as executive director of the Governor's Office of Recovery and Renewal under Haley Barbour and the president of the Mississippi Energy Institute.

The governor also discussed the next phase of the state's efforts to rebuild through investment in our workforce training as we work to come out of this pandemic.

"I am proposing a substantial investment in workforce training facility capacity expansions where our training institutions can quickly upgrade facilities or add equipment to train more Mississippians with skills that lead to higher paying careers," said Reeve. "The best way to get Mississippians into higher paying jobs is to get more Mississippians qualified for the high-tech, higher paying jobs many businesses demand today. I am asking the legislature to let us use CARES Act funds to help these Mississippians to re-enter the workforce stronger."

Included in the workforce proposal, Reeves is encouraging as much on-the-job training opportunities as possible for those out of work and seeking opportunities.

For employers willing to start employees at a competitive salary, the governor is proposing to partner with these companies to cover a portion of the wages during the on-the-job training period through the end of 2020.

Answering questions from the media, Reeves said he believes in-person voting will be possible for a special election in July and certainly for federal elections in November. Reeves says by-mail-only voting which has been adopted or considered by other states isn't necessary here.

A special election to fill a vacant seat in the Mississippi House was delayed until July because of the pandemic.

The non-partisan race in District 88 involving Jasper and Jones counties became necessary when Republican Rep. Ramona Blackledge of Laurel resigned Jan. 31, less than month after the start of the four-year term.