More Skills, Better Communities

What is the More Skills, Better Communities Initiative?

More Skills, Better Communities is a diverse network of of municipal leaders from across the state of Mississippi who are united in the cause of growing the skilled labor pool in their communities.

Our communities grow when more of our citizens are prepared for modern-day careers.

  • Among the topics that are divisive in politics today, whether local or national, the education and economic advancement for citizens is not one. Regardless of location or political philosophy, all community leaders want people in their communities to find work opportunities that will improve their quality of life and collectively grow local economies.
  • In the modern automated and data-based economy, the vast majority of jobs (about 70%) available today and in the coming years are highly technical in nature and require more than a high school diploma and less than a four-year degree. Employers who have access to adequate numbers of these skilled workers will be more likely to grow and thrive, subsequently growing the local economies around them.
  • These skill-based careers are not only in high demand across our state, but also pay extremely well; often two to three times as much as the average wage in Mississippi. As more people enter these training pathways and then go to work, average household incomes will rise in our communities.
  • Mississippi’s community college system offers our communities a built – in training system for the vast majority of these opportunities close to home.
  • We, as municipal leaders, know that this is a message that must be central to the discussions of how to fortify and strengthen the future of our communities.
  • For our citizens to make more informed decisions about career opportunities, they simply need to be better informed.
  • This is a highly measurable effort. Success is defined as enrollment increase in targeted local training programs in the following sectors: manufacturing, healthcare, energy, IT, and logistics. What gets measured gets done.
  • Supporting stats: About 7 out of 10 available jobs today are looking for people trained in skilled trades; Nationally, the demand is about 6 million (unfilled) and about 40,000 in MS); Average private sector wages in MS are about $37,000 but wages in the targeted skills average over $60,000 with opportunities to advance
  • Many people simply do not know what to do or where to go to find opportunities – in MS, there are over 600,000 with less than a college degree and NOT working and another 200,000 who are underemployed and may be interested in a higher-paying opportunity. If just a small percentage of these people are interested in finding a new, better career pathway, the impact will be tremendous.

June 26, 2018 serves as the public debut of this initiative. This effort will make a difference by the following methods:

  • More Skills, Better Communities will work throughout 2018 to grow the team by collecting signatures & commitments from municipal leaders in every corner of the state. This will include not only mayors but city councilmen, aldermen and supervisors who wish to participate.
  • First and foremost, this network will work to raise awareness of these opportunities in our state’s communities through utilizing the members’ own local networks, public megaphones and a coordinated front.
  • Members of the statewide coalition may seek ways for their communities and municipal governments to collaborate with local educational institutions (both secondary and postsecondary) to provide greater training capacity for its citizens for the high paying, in demand careers in their region.
  • Members of the coalition will encourage local employers in their communities to engage the state’s workforce development system and participate in the resources provided by the state’s four workforce areas.
  • More Skills, Better Communities will work closely with The Skills Foundation of MS to promote Get on the Grid, Mississippi’s Virtual Guidance Counselor. Get on the Grid is a simple digital resource designed to inform people of the in-demand opportunities and where to get started. Working with the state and local workforce areas, Get on the Grid is undergoing an expansion in summer 2018 to add priority sectors healthcare, IT, and logistics to the sectors already featured, manufacturing and energy.


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