Southcentral Mississippi Works (SMW) is the seventeen county workforce area which serves individuals and employers in the central and southwest part of the state. CMPDD serves as the fiscal administrative entity for the federal Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) funds provided through the U.S. Department of Labor. These federal funds provide various employment and training opportunities to the citizens of our workforce area.
Under the direction and guidance of the State Workforce Investment Board, each of the four local workforce areas in the state are in the process of developing a Sector Strategy Plan for their respective areas. The purpose of this initiative, which is just one step in the implementation of Mississippi’s Smart Start Career Pathway Plan, is to address current and emerging skill gaps; create industry specific workforce solutions; and better align state programs and resources serving employers and workers. In order to meet these objectives, SMW is working to identify employers’ workforce needs and skill gaps; identify available state, educational and workforce development resources; and identify the gaps in employers’ abilities to access state and workforce resources.
Labor market information and other pertinent workforce data indicates that healthcare and manufacturing are the SMW workforce area’s most in-demand occupational areas. These two areas will be the targeted industries included in the Sector Strategy Plan. CMPDD’s workforce staff have partnered with the Mississippi Hospital Association, the Greater Jackson Alliance, and Hinds Community College to form leadership teams for each of these two industry sectors to assist in the development of the sector strategy plan. One component of this plan will be programs and activities designed to meet the skill gaps of workers and the hiring and training needs of the industry employers. Members of the leadership teams are healthcare and manufacturing industry representatives, economic development organizations, community college and K-12 leaders, and a host of other individuals who have insight into the needs and struggles of these industry sectors, and who can contribute to the design of methods for addressing the issues.