Blueprint Mississippi reaches the Coast

HANCOCK COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - Business and community leaders have probably heard of Blueprint Mississippi. It's an effort by the Mississippi Economic Council to make sure schools, worker training and even streets and drainage support business growth.

Wednesday, members of the Bay-Waveland Rotary Club learned more about the effort and even had a chance to share what's most important to them.

"The 1987 road program attracted many of the state's largest economic development projects," said a video clip shown to Rotary Club members.

The Mississippi Economic Council is drawing up the blueprint it hopes will bring the next surge of growth for business in the Magnolia state. The good news is the head of the MEC says our state is bouncing back from the most recent recession.

"This is one of six states that has reached pre-recession. Look whose behind us; Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, way behind us. There is an attitude that Mississippi doesn't measure up, and in fact we do," said Blake Wilson, President and CEO of the Mississippi Economic Council.

Wilson told members of the Bay-Waveland Rotary the state must make sure it's ready for business growth and new hi-tech industries. That will take forward thinking in education, workforce training and even infrastructure.

Using interactive remote control devices, Rotary Club members were asked to rate the importance of roads and bridges to economic development. The results of the vote taken instantly appeared on a large screen projector.

"So clearly, this area believes transportation infrastructure matters and we will carry that message out," Wilson said.

Wilson says the state can't underestimate the importance of basic things like good roads in luring new business to the state.

"We need to make sure we have a cutting edge when we go after economic development. We will have missed that opportunity if we don't do the right things now."

The Mississippi Economic Council's pathway to progress tour will stop in 19 cities across the state before concluding in March.

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