Funding plan, job description set for workforce development director

Published 12:07 pm Tuesday, October 26, 2021

NATCHEZ — In a special, joint meeting on Monday afternoon, Adams County, City of Natchez and Natchez-Adams School District governing bodies approved a joint agreement to hire and fund a new workforce development director.

After a number of city, county and school officials toured such a new, state-of-the-art facility in Batesville earlier in the summer, the idea of a joint workforce development effort became fast tracked, driven by Natchez Mayor Dan Gibson.

Gibson said doing such was phase 1 of a much bigger picture of addressing the issues of adequately training Natchez and Adams County residents for meaningful jobs that are available from employers operating in our area, and providing training for those no longer in the job market to reenter it and be able to support their families.

“The reason for the urgency in getting a workforce development director hired is because major grant funds are available, but deadlines for those grants are as early as January,” Gibson said.

“When we approve this, we become one of the first city, county and school districts to come together to do this in the state. Panola County has certainly done this, and maybe one or two others, but we will be one of the first in the state,” he said.

Former Natchez Mayor Phillip West, who is vice chairman of the Natchez-Adams School Board, led that board Monday afternoon in the absence of board president Amos James, board president.

The original draft of the inter local agreement called for each partner to appoint two members to the search committee, along with Executive Director Chandler Russ from Natchez Inc. and Debbie Hudson, president of the Natchez-Adams Chamber of Commerce. West suggested adding three members to the committee, names the chief administrators of each group — Natchez Superintendent Fred Butcher, Natchez Mayor Dan Gibson and County Administrator Angie King.

All groups approved that move.

The agreement as approved calls for:

• The creation of a position entitled Director of Workforce Development at a salary of $65,000 per year, plus benefits, travel, work-related expenses and incentives that may be determined at a later date.

• Establishment of an operation budget for Phase One, Year One in the amount of $100,000, to be split evenly three ways among the coalition partners — Adams County, City of Natchez and the Natchez-Adams County School District.

• The budgeted amount will be payable to Natchez Inc., which will serve as coalition administrator and be responsible for all invoicing and accounting of coalition funds.

• The coalition administrator will immediately post the job opening, which expires Nov. 5. The search committee will interview qualified candidates and make a recommendation of hire to the coalition partners no later than Nov. 15. Each coalition partner will be asked to consider ratification of the hire no later than Nov. 30.

• Once hired, the Director of Workforce Development will work under the umbrella of the coalition administrator. Salary, benefits, other expenses shall be paid by the coalition administrator out of the funds provided by the coalition partners.

• The search committee will become the workforce development advisory board until such time as a new board is appointed by the coalition partners.

The three groups also approved a job description and job summary, as well as qualifications to be advertised for the Director of Workforce Development.

Those include:

• College level business related education or equivalent experience required. A Master’s Degree in Business Administration or Workforce Development preferred.

• Minimum of five years’ experience in the area of Workforce Development field required.

• Demonstrated ability to work with others.

• Knowledge of state and federal funding opportunities and the proper implementation of funding.

• Experience in seeking governmental funds and support, i.e. lobbying and advocacy.

• Excellent communication skills with all partners in area for new and existing employers.

• Experience in hiring and managing employees.