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MEC Road Tour leader says 'great things happening here'

MEC President and CEP Scott Walker talks to Corinth business leaders on Tuesday.

Staff photo by Zack Steen

A metro Jackson native received a rousing round of applause from Corinth leaders on Tuesday.

It happened during a joint civic club meeting as they hosted the Mississippi Economic Council's annual MEC Road Tour, and it was President and CEO Scott Waller who made a huge impression when he referenced the Corinth School District's disagreement with the state board of education over school ratings.

"We have got to find a way to award schools who do things differently," Waller told a crowded Franklin Courtyard. "There are great things happening right here (in Corinth), but because of the rules they are considered bad. We, as a state, have got to break down that barrier, because if we continue to have a education system like we have always had, then we are never going to get where we need it to be."

Waller was in Corinth to update leadership on what's next from the state's chamber of commerce.

At the top of the agenda was a continued focus on post-secondary education and training which the council is doing through their Mississippi Scholars and Tech Master Scholars programs.

Corinth and Alcorn County school districts are each participating in both programs.

"These are helping create a more qualified, better prepared workforce to help fuel Mississippi's economy," said Waller.

The council is also focusing on the value of all jobs.

"We must breakdown the stereotypes that cloud our judgement when it comes to successful careers," he said. "The thought that a young person isn't successful if that don't go to college or if they get a job outside the norm has got to stop."

He also gathered important feedback on what community members feel like are the state's current needs.

Of the 100 or so people at the meeting on Tuesday, a "amazing" 82 percent said career and technical preparedness with workforce certification and/or a 2-year degree is the greatest workforce skillset needed.

Waller said such a strong opinion is proof of the forward thinking community Corinth has already become.

"In other cities "" many larger than Corinth, these results are a lot different with most people thinking a 4-year college degree is best," added Waller.

Other results showed 83 percent of those in attendance said Mississippi's economy is better today than it was five years ago, while over half said the state's current economy is worse than surrounding states.