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Accelerate MS leads planning process...

Accelerate MS leads planning process for State’s Workforce Innovation & Opportunity Act (WIOA) Plan

By: Anne Summerhays - February 16, 2022

Mississippi has opted to submit a Combined Plan to meet the requirements of the WIOA.

Accelerate MS is leading the state planning process for Mississippi’s 2022 Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) State Plan. The WIOA plan outlines Mississippi’s proposed vision for a connected and efficient workforce system.

In 2020, Governor Tate Reeves and the Mississippi Legislature established the new Office of Workforce Development (Accelerate MS) to attract new businesses, grow the Mississippi economy, and create a robust workforce development strategy that ensures that every Mississippi worker is able to compete for the high-paying, in-demand jobs of the future.

Ryan Miller, Executive Director of Accelerate MS, told Y’all Politics that leading the state’s planning process for WIOA is a good example of why Accelerate MS was created by the state. 

“We were created to be a source of coordination, the tip of the spear, if you will, of workforce strategy, development, and deployment, and I think the WIOA plan and the formation of that is great example of us trying to live up to what we believe we were created to do,” Miller said. 

Garrett McInnis, Deputy Director for External Affairs at Accelerate MS, explained that in order for states to access workforce development funds, each state is required to submit a detailed plans of how the funds will be utilized. Every two years there is a requirement to update the plan and every four years there is a brand-new plan submission.

This is the first time that there has been the process of an update to the plan where Mississippi’s coordinating office has been in place. McInnis said that this has allowed the office to dig into what has been successful over the last few updates to that plan, but also see where there are opportunities for growth. 

Mississippi submitted a Combined Plan to meet the requirements of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act. This Combined Plan revision is built around the commitment made by Governor Reeves to make Mississippi the best state in the nation in which to live, work, and raise a family.

Mississippi’s Combined Plan includes the six required state programs—the Adult Program, the Dislocated Worker Program, the Youth Program, the Adult Education and Family Literacy Act Program, the Wagner-Peyser Act Program, and the Vocational Rehabilitation Program—along with Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), Unemployment Insurance (UI), Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA), Jobs for Veterans State Grants Program (JVSG), and Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP).

This combined plan addresses the state’s strategy to ensure an inclusive vision that creates opportunity for all Mississippians, addresses the implications of the COVID-19 pandemic on Mississippi workers, and represents the efforts of Accelerate MS to unify state workforce and WIOA stakeholders around a vision that addresses the challenges workers face to gain credentials and skills to meet industry needs.

Mississippi’s 2022 WIOA Plan has been posted for public review and comment, which allows the public to have the opportunity to provide feedback on Mississippi’s proposed vision for a connected and efficient workforce system.

You can read the draft of Mississippi’s 2022 Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) State Plan here.

About the Author(s)
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Anne Summerhays

Anne Summerhays is a recent graduate of Millsaps College where she majored in Political Science, with minors in Sociology and American Studies. In 2021, she joined Y’all Politics as a Capitol Correspondent. Prior to making that move, she interned for a congressional office in Washington, D.C. and a multi-state government relations and public affairs firm in Jackson, Mississippi. While at Millsaps, Summerhays received a Legislative Fellowship with the Women’s Foundation of Mississippi where she worked with an active member of the Mississippi Legislature for the length of session. She has quickly established trust in the Capitol as a fair, honest, and hardworking young reporter. Her background in political science helps her cut through the noise to find and explain the truth.