Gov. asks lawmakers to use CARES $ for workforce development

After signing the bill to allocate $300 million of Mississippi’s CARES Act funding for small business relief, Governor Tate Reeves stated today that he’ll ask lawmakers to use a portion of the state’s remaining $900 million to fund workforce development efforts. 

During his daily press briefing, the Governor stated that this effort will assist Mississippians who’ve lost their jobs during the COVID-19 pandemic and help to train the state’s residents for the jobs of the future. 

“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 Governor Reeves at the press briefing. “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.”

While discussing the plan, Governor Reeves stated that “on-the-job training opportunities” need to be a primary focus and that he is proposing to partner with companies to cover a portion of the wages during that training period through the end of 2020. A specific dollar figure was not mentioned while discussing the plan. 

Also, Patrick Sullivan was announced as the new Chairman of the State Workforce Investment Board. 

Patrick Sullivan. Photo courtesy of Gov. Reeves’ Office

In the past, Sullivan has served as the Executive Director of the Governor’s Office of Recovery and Renewal under Governor Haley Barbour, the President of the Mississippi Energy Institute, and as a member of the SWIB. 

“Workforce development and training have always been my top priorities for our great state. Every Mississippian deserves the chance to work an honest job for good pay,” said Governor Reeves. “The current economic climate presents new challenges for our state, but we are committed to forging ahead for our people and increasing Mississippians take-home pay through business growth and workforce training. Patrick has an impressive record of fostering economic growth and overseeing economic development in our state. I am grateful to have him lead SWIB and bring together the public and private sectors to help move our state forward.”

Sullivan appeared alongside the Governor during today’s briefing and said that collaboration is key when it comes to workforce development. 

“Governor Reeves has identified Mississippi’s mission to start the path towards higher average incomes. The best way to get Mississippians into higher-paying jobs is to get more Mississippians qualified for high-pay, high-tech jobs,” said Patrick Sullivan. “This is a very achievable, measurable task, but to have success, intensive collaboration between employers, public institutions, and other workforce partners is critical. The mission succeeds when we all succeed. I look forward to the work ahead.”

You can watch today’s briefing below: