Tag Archives: Mississippi Economic Council

Focus on Jobs subject of MPB’s Quorum on 3-24-2010

The March 24th edition of QUORUM on MPB focused on the state’s economic and employment prospects.  The programs are now archived on YouTube.  This one is well worth watching if you want to understand current economic conditions in Mississippi.  Click here to view the program.

The panel consisted of Gray Swoope, executive director of the Mississippi Development Authority; Mississippi Economic Council president Blake Wilson; and Maury Granger, chairman of the Department of Economics at Jackson State University.

To view archived editions of Quorum go to YouTube.com and search for quorum mpb.

Education Trumps Workforce Development in MEC Survey

The Mississippi Economic Council conducts a caravan-type tour of the state each year at which time it asks attendees to list issues of importance and concern.

According to a press release after the tour, those in attendance had quite a bit of agreement on the most important issue.

When asked what is the single most important issue in putting Mississippi in the position of greatest opportunity, 50 percent of the 1,031 leaders who completed the survey listed education. Another 22 percent said workforce development was vital for future success. The survey was part of MEC’s Transformation Tour — a series of meetings around the state that drew over 1,850 leaders. The 12-city tour began Nov. 9 in Greenwood and concluded Dec. 10 in Gulfport.

Source:  http://www.msmec.com/mx/hm.asp?id=121709survey

It’s Friday – Time for Hero of the Week

The biggest business and political event of the week was Hobnob Mississippi, a signature project of the Mississippi Economic Council (MEC).  The gathering of the state’s business and political leaders drew over 1,000 attendees.  Hobnob is just one of MEC’s many projects.  In the past few years MEC has become a leading force in causing change in Mississippi.  From Momentum Mississippi to Mississippi Building blocks MEC has taken a leadership role.  Although he will probably disagree because he likes to give others credit and point out that we do it all together, MEC’s CEO is a person who has played a huge role in changing MEC and Mississippi.  And that’s why my Hero of the Week is Blake Wilson.

Blake Wilson
Blake Wilson came to MEC in 1998 from the Florida Chamber of Commerce where he served as Executive Vice President — and where he developed the most sophisticated grassroots member legislative action program in the nation.

Previously, Blake was Executive Director of Associated Builders & Contractors’ in Delaware and prior to that, spent nearly 10 years with the Delaware Chamber of Commerce. Before entering the association business, he spent nine years as a newspaper editor and reporter.

Early Childhood Education

This morning I had the opportunity to attend the Jackson stop of the Mississippi Economic Council‘s Marathon Tour, Building Our Competitive Future.  Plenty of good stuff about economic development, business climate, etc. One of the subjects happened to be Early Childhood Education. State Superintendent of Education Hank Bounds told the business audience that this was a subject of importance to them because today’s children are tomorrow’s workforce and consumers.

Afterwards, I went to my office, checked my e-mail and found a message from an organization whose CEO has become an early childhood advocate.  Quite a coincidence.  Just for fun, read the quote below and guess which buiness leader made the statement.  Was it:

John Donahoe
President and CEO
eBay, Inc.

Dennis P. Lockhart
President and Chief Executive Officer
Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta; or

Howard Schultz
President and CEO
Starbucks

Here’s a quote from a speech he made in September:

“…  In my varied career, I’ve spent more time in business than any other sector. As a new zealot for early education, I favor the direct, pragmatic, impatient-with-rhetoric language of my business colleagues. In that spirit, let me put forth five propositions:

1. Kindergarten is too late. At least it’s too late for many children, especially those from disadvantaged households. Children who do not arrive at kindergarten ready for the structure and content of the formal education process are behind on day one. Many will never catch up.
2. Early education generates high returns. Return on investment can be calculated, and that return is competitive with or superior to many discrete projects typically justified in economic development terms.
3. We (society) can pay now or pay later. Failure in school forces channeling of resources—tax dollars, philanthropy, and United Way funding—to treatment of social problems that are the consequence of that failure in school. Failure in school unquestionably contributes to the appalling statistics we see on phenomena such as school dropouts, teen pregnancy, crime, and incarceration.
4. Success requires public and private leadership. For the foreseeable future, leadership action and effective delivery of early education will require a hybrid model. Achieving quality in early education requires concerted efforts on the part of the public education system, nonprofit agencies, for-profit providers, churches, and a diverse funding community. Government financing and other support are likely to be necessary, but not sufficient. Business leadership—as is so often the case at the state and community level—is critical to fill gaps and gain traction.
5. Finally—my fifth argument—the train is leaving the station. Many states and communities across the country are moving forward on this issue, and momentum for early childhood education is building. There is a growing recognition that this is an idea whose time has come and progressive communities ought to and are getting on with it. With regard to international economic competition, the train has left the station. Many of our competitors are well ahead.”
The answer is….

…  Dennis P. Lockhart
President and Chief Executive Officer
Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta

Click here to read his entire speech.