FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, July 1, 2004

GOVERNOR HALEY BARBOUR APPOINTS INTERIM EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF THE DEPARTMENT OF EMPLOYMENT SECURITY ON FIRST DAY OF NEW WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT LAW

(Jackson, Miss.) – Governor Haley Barbour today named Jim Lott Interim Executive Director of the Department of Employment Security, and he will serve as the permanent Deputy Director of the agency. The announcement came on the same day the 2004 Workforce Development Act became law.

“Job creation is my number one priority for this Administration, and Jim Lott is very knowledgeable of Mississippi’s workforce training programs,” said Governor Barbour. “I want him to lead our efforts in providing employers an available, consistent, and skilled workforce, and offer a clear path to individuals seeking their first job or a better job.”

Governor Barbour spearheaded a successful legislative effort that passed the most comprehensive Workforce Development legislation in Mississippi history. The agency has been renamed the Department of Employment Security.

Lott worked under both the Musgrove and Barbour Administrations as the Director of the Employment Training Division for the Mississippi Development Authority. There he oversaw $90 million of federal Workforce Investment Act funds to assist jobseekers in placement, training, and career counseling. Mississippi has 64 Workforce Investment Network (WIN) job centers that serve more than 200,00 individuals annually.

The Department of Employment Security is the lead state agency in implementing the Mississippi Comprehensive Workforce Training and Education Consolidation Act of 2004. HB 973 merges the State Workforce Development Council, which oversees state workforce dollars, with the State Workforce Investment Board, which oversees federal workforce dollars. The new State Workforce Investment Board will coordinate both state and federal workforce dollars.

The legislation gives more of the franchise in workforce development and training to community colleges, which have a proven record of performance in workforce training. Federal workforce dollars in Mississippi currently go to one of six workforce-training areas in the State. The legislation merges these into four, to be run by respective workforce training boards, and creates incentives for the boards to contract workforce training with community and junior colleges. Local Workforce Development Councils perform the same function as the workforce training boards with state training dollars; the Councils will continue to work with the community colleges under this Act.

 


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Governor Haley Barbour
P.O. Box 139 Jackson, MS 39205
Phone: 601.359.3150 Fax: 601.359.3741