Delbert Hosemann didn’t have any big announcement to make, but the Mississippi Secretary of State did have a plethora of information to share with those attending the monthly Vicksburg-Warren County Chamber of Commerce luncheon Wednesday.
The Vicksburg native, who has been rumored to be making a run for the office of lieutenant governor, said education and economic development should be the focus and priority of improving the lives of Mississippians.
“We need to nurture business, small business in particular,” Hosemann said. “And we don’t have to give away Mississippi with incentives.”
He said the idea of offering incentives to attract major manufacturers needs to change and the focus turn to developing trades and a skilled labor force for those 70 percent of graduates who do not plan to attend college.
Hosemann showed charts from a survey of 2,000 businesses indicating the top priorities of existing business is an educated workforce and community support.
“Not all businesses want a tax break,” Hosemann said. “Half of the 2,000 businesses would expand their business today if they had an educated workforce.”
An educated workforce is the key, said Hosemann.
Half of those businesses that answered the survey also indicated it takes them up to three months to find a qualified employee.
“This is troubling,” Hosemann said. “Half of our workforce needs more than a high school education.”
He said Vicksburg is heading in the right direction with revitalizing the downtown area, implementing new programs within the school district and developing technology with the Mississippi Hardware building.
“Vicksburg is ready to have some achievements,” Hosemann said. “When I get in a position to help y’all, I plan to do so.”
The results and more information on business in Mississippi can be found on yallbusiness.sos.ms.gov.
Hosemann has been traveling the state in recent weeks to also inform the public about the upcoming elections and encourage voter registration. More voter information can be found on yallvote.sos.ms.gov.