OUR OPINION: MEC opens a new Blueprint Mississippi

By NEMS Daily Journal

Thursday’s advance briefing in Tupelo on the Mississippi Economic Council’s “Blueprint Mississippi” legislative and private-sector development program offers a prime opportunity for deeper involvement in building our state’s prosperity and quality of life.
The lunch-time briefing, which is free, requires only preregistration at www.blueprintmississippi.com. It begins at 11:30 a.m. at BancorpSouth Conference Center.
The briefing begins an opportunity for MEC members and other Mississippians to participate in the final recommendations for putting Mississippi in the place of greatest opportunity, playing to our strengths and seizing opportunities to match the resources of the state, counties, cities and private-sector development organizations.
MEC President Blake Wilson said the goal is to bring forward as many solid ideas and opportunities as possible in formulating the final recommendations to be announced in January.
MEC, which is the statewide Chamber of Commerce, is comprised of individuals and private firms whose commitment to statewide growth is networked through the council’s programs.
A comprehensive process to develop the new goals and foundations for Blueprint Mississippi has been ongoing throughout 2011. The work was underwritten by $1.25 million in private-sector funds, a strong commitment from the business community and civic leadership statewide.
The main thrust of the 2011 version of the blueprint is in four broad categories:
* Educational achievement
* Resource management
* Economic competitiveness
* Technology commercialization
The plan also includes what are called cross-cutting issues: Community life, health care, infrastructure and racial reconciliation.
The content of the four main goals is more sharply focused:
* Educational achievement, from early childhood through college, workforce training and lifelong learning
* Resource management, the ability to stretch limited resources to serve the demanding needs of a state that must grow and improve, while also focusing on baseline resources
* Economic competitiveness, incentives, targeted industries, tax climate, regulatory climate, opportunities realized/unrealized
* Technology Commercialization, turning research outcomes into economic opportunities
The leadership behind Blueprint Mississippi has been able to achieve the original goals despite the unexpected challenges created with the impact of Hurricane Katrina followed by the nationwide recession.
During that same span the challenges of global economics have enlarged, obviously requiring a new plan to stay in the mix of competitors.
Attend Thursday’s meeting to become part of the solutions.