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Workforce training, transportation focus of policy sessions at MEC PowerPlay April 30 in Jackson

JACKSON, MS (WDAM) -

This is a news release from Mississippi Economic Council  

There will be two key policy workshops as part of the MEC PowerPlay Annual Meeting. These sessions will focus on workforce development and transportation infrastructure, two key issues in improving Mississippi's economic competitiveness.

The MEC PowerPlay, the 66th Annual Meeting, will be held on Thursday, April 30, at the Jackson Convention Complex. The event gets underway at 9 a.m. with morning sessions, which includes sales and customer service training. The day will be capped off with the Annual Meeting Luncheon at 11:45. Greenwood native and UPS CEO David Abney will keynote the luncheon.

The MEC Policy Boost session, “Getting Workforce Development to Work” begins at 9 a.m. and will highlight Lonnie P. Taylor, CEO of National Job Corps Association. Joining Taylor for the panel discussion will be Paige Roberts, owner of EPIC Enterprises, LLC, Patrick Sullivan, President of Mississippi Energy Institute, James Williams, the newly appointed Executive Director of the State Workforce Investment Board and Attorney Ramona Williams of Jobs for Mississippi Graduates.

Taylor has extensive experience in association management, strategic counseling in public and government affairs, and in managing executives and recruiting senior talent.

Roberts' company is focused on education, public relations and fundraising initiatives. She is currently co-coordinating Pathways2Possibilities: P2P, an interactive career expo for 6,000 8th graders in South Mississippi, for America's Promise Alliance and Jackson County Civic Action Committee. Roberts and her P2P partner, Karen Sock, are also working with the CREATE Foundation in Tupelo to develop a P2P affiliate career expo for 8th graders in Northeast Mississippi.

Sullivan oversees the Mississippi Energy Institute, a private, non-profit association created to support research and energy policy to foster economic growth in Mississippi. The Mississippi Energy Institute is focused on workforce development and promoting career opportunities and training through its Get On the Grid website (www.getonthegridms.com).

James Williams was recently named Executive Director of Mississippi's State Workforce Investment Board. He previously served at Itawamba Community College as the vice president of Economic and Community Services where he focused on workforce training and services to the college service district and worked with the operations of four WIN Job Centers.

Ramona Williams is in her second year with Jobs for Mississippi Graduates where her primary duties are overseeing the heads of each department in Jobs for Mississippi Graduates, including marketing, fund-raising, program development, HR management and accounting.

The MEC Policy Boost Session, “Putting the Wheels Back on Infrastructure” gets underway at 10:45 a.m. and features Joe McAndrew, Policy Director for Transportation for America. Joining McAndrew for the panel discussion is Chip Morgan, Executive Vice President of Delta Council, Wilson Risinger, Vice President of Safety and Risk Management for KLLM, and Elizabeth Kennedy Lawlor, Norfolk Southern's Resident Vice President of Government Relations for Mississippi, Alabama, Louisiana and Tennessee.

McAndrew focuses on local, state and federal policy and advocacy. He leads Transportation for America's federal policy efforts, and supports state and local partners in developing strategies to create innovative transportation funding and policy initiatives.

Morgan oversees the Delta Council, a regional agricultural and economic development organization working on issues impacting almost every aspect of the Northwest Mississippi economy. He has extensive experience in public policy which affects the Delta Council region, and also has been involved in numerous transportation issues in Mississippi. 

Risinger is responsible for safety and compliance for Mississippi-based KLLM, a nationwide, truckload, temperature control carrier that has been in business for 50 years. He oversees claims management, worker compensation and insurance.

Lawlor joined Norfolk Southern in January 2010 and oversees state legislative activities in Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi and Tennessee. In her capacity with Norfolk Southern, Lawlor is the Past President of the Mississippi Railroad Association, Treasurer of the Alabama and Tennessee Railroad Associations.

MEC PowerPlay Annual Meeting registration is available at www.mec.ms. Individual pricing for the event is $78 per person for MEC members and $90 per person for Non-MEC members. 

For more information on the MEC PowerPlay Annual meeting visit www.mec.ms   

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