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Workforce development vital to economy, MMA president says

Copiah-Lincoln Community College plays a vital role in workforce development, Mississippi Manufacturing Association president and CEO Jay C. Moon told the crowd at the 18th Annual Career Fair and Business and Industry Apprecation Luncheon Thursday on the Wesson campus.

Moon updated the group on the state of manufacturing in Mississippi, stating that Mississippi has a good track record for attracting quality manufacturers, compared to the rest of the nation.

Manufacturing is important to the economy in many ways, Moon said. Each manufacturing job has two to three non-manufacturing jobs that depend upon it.

The importance of a high school diploma also needs to be emphasized to lower Mississippi’s dropout rate, Moon pointed out. An educated, capable workforce is necessary for attracting new business.

“These students are not understanding the relevancy of a diploma in today’s society,” Moon said. “We need to be more creative in giving them that understanding.”

Lowering school drop out rates and improving secondary education will help lay a good foundation for a skilled work force.  “We have to spend way too much money to re-educate at the community college level in remedial programs,” Moon said.

Employers increasingly need workers with a technical background. To that end, workforce development is vital.

“We have to have the workforce capable of moving effectively into those jobs,” Moon said.

Moon also touched on the stimulus package – its potential effect on the economy is unknown.

Hundreds of students and job seekers left resumes and met recruiters from a variety of industries as well as universities that morning during the Career Fair. More than 45 businesses and educational centers were represented.

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