About 150 people participated in the concensus-building event convened by the Commission on the Future of Alcorn County to gather broad input about the county's challenges.
Leading the discussion was Commission Chairwoman Lane Williams, with assistance from CREATE Foundation President Mike Clayborne and CREATE Executive Vice President Lewis Whitfield.
From eight different work groups a list of 19 key issues were identified, which about 100 participants further refined to the following eight topics:
- Economic development, including increasing good-paying jobs
- Develop educational choices for all children and adults, including vocational, adult vocational and community education
- Quality early childhood education
- Legalized liquor sales
- Long-term city and county planning and coordination of city/county policies
- Improve community infrastructure
- Building community and family values (mentoring, support structure)
- Stronger community education partnerships and reducing dropouts
From these ideas the steering committee will target more specifically how to give a charge to the task force groups that will address these issues.
Discussion leaders prepared the group by sharing statistics that define the county's challenges - a too-high dropout rate, a high rate of teenage pregnancy, a decline in good-paying jobs and not enough educational attainment to attract new well-paid jobs - before participants separated into the eight discussion groups.
The steering expects task force groups to begin work right away, and urges everyone interested in being involved to contact them by e-mail at AlcornCommission@ymail.com.
The next community forum to share progress reports is planned for March 8, 2011.
Contact Lena Mitchell at (662) 287-9822 or email@example.com.