Right on target
March 7, 2004
Gov. Haley Barbour is right on target with his initiative to reform workforce development programs in this state. The bills he has had introduced would streamline delivery systems and encourage private enterprise job training.
The Mississippi Comprehensive Workforce Training and Education Consolidation Act of 2004 would merge the State Workforce Development Council, which oversees state workforce dollars, with the State Workforce Investment Board, which oversees federal workforce dollars. A new State Workforce Investment Board would be appointed by the governor, speaker of the House and lieutenant governor to coordinate both state and federal workforce dollars.
The legislation gives more of the franchise in workforce development and training to community colleges, which have a proven record of performance in workforce training. Federal workforce dollars in Mississippi currently go to one of six workforce training areas in the state. Reforming that single element would be a vast improvement.
Under Barbour's proposal, programs of the Mississippi Employment Security Commission would be transferred to the executive branch of government, allowing greater coordination and utilization of funds for workforce training and development programs.
It looks to us as if Gov. Barbour is making good on his belief that Mississippi can do better, and we encourage the Legislature to enact this key initiative.