Time for coordinated workforce development is now

Published 1:00 pm Wednesday, October 6, 2021

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Natchez and Adams County are enjoying an uptick in business and enthusiasm right now.

One thing that can put a damper on that economic excitement right now is for new businesses locating here to not be able to find qualified workers.

Statistics show an appreciable number of people are no longer in the job market here. A number of factors could figure in to someone making that decision, but most likely, many in that number feel they aren’t qualified for a good paying job.

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That’s why a coordinated workforce development facility, shared by the county, city and school district is such a necessity right now.

Natchez Mayor Dan Gibson and others from the city, county and public schools here recently visited a state-of-the-art workforce-training center in Batesville. All returned to Natchez convinced that our community needs something similar.

Not only do we need to train the many local students who will graduate from high school, but have no plans to attend college, we also need to train those in our community who have given up on ever getting a job because they lack marketable skills.

The key to growing meaningful employment here and lowering the high Adams County poverty level is by training workers for jobs.

Gibson said the first step in moving toward comprehensive workforce training here is to hire a leader to drive the effort.

District 4 Supervisor Ricky Gray suggested school board and city officials meet to hammer out details. That meeting should take place within the first two weeks of October.

We encourage all involved to move forward wisely, but quickly. New businesses and industries coming to our area need to rest assured they would find here a trained, motivated workforce. And in order to provide meaningful work for themselves and their families, workers need to be trained for high-paying jobs that could come our way.

Developing a comprehensive workforce development center here is a wise investment for the future of businesses and citizens in Natchez and Adams County.