Hattiesburg - Mississippi First, a Pre-K advocacy group, and the Committee for Economic Development hosted the "Incentives for Investing in Pre-K" program Friday.
On December 20, 2013, The Mississippi Board of Education awarded competitive early learning collaborative funding to 11 programs across the state for more than 8 million dollars over the next three years.
The program informed the public on the importance of quality Pre-K education in Mississippi.
Business leader, teachers and local representatives attended the conference, and they want the entire community to jump on board for Pre-K programs.
"Hopefully, uh, we'll reduce the number of students who retained in grades, who need special education, increase the number of children who can have high performance and increase high school graduation rates," said Grace Reef, committee for economic development.
Barker also urged businesses and the private sector to invest in the program.
"And so today was about meeting with local business leaders and letting them know what opportunities are out there not only for early learning but a tax credit for businesses to partner in these early learning collaborative matches," said Barker.