Sec. Hoseman to speak in Como
Mississippi Secretary of State Delbert Hoseman will speak in Como Thursday evening at the annual meeting of Panola Partnership Inc.
This year marks the 22nd meeting and dinner event for the Partnership, the organization that fills the roles of chamber of commerce, economic development, and tourism board for Batesville and Panola County.
CEO Joe Azar, in his second year at the helm of Panola Partnership, said more than 250 people are expected at the 211 Main Hall & Gardens in Como. They will hear the annual update of the Partnership’s accomplishments for the past year, and projections for expected business and industrial growth for the coming year.
Mostly, though, Azar will be discussing the Partnership’s gains in the area of workforce development – the topic that he has been pushing the past year.
Azar said he is aware that industrial development and business expansion has not made large strides in Panola County the past year, but said overall it has been “an extraordinary year for workforce development.”
“We didn’t shovel a lot of dirt in Panola County this past year, but we have started to move a small mountain with the workforce improvements.”
Responding to feedback from existing industry and business for a better, more qualified workforce, Azar has of late focused the Partership’s goal of bringing together all players in the areas of education, industry, and public administration.
The long-term effect, Azar said, will be a continual feeding of industry with more “job ready” employees. The result will be more productivity at the plant sites, increased profits for investors, and ultimately higher wages and standards of living for Panola County residents.
“There is a lot of value in having these type of meetings where industry and education are in the same room addressing the issues together,” he said.
These conversations, Azar said, has led to the most recent improvements local industry has begun to see in the available workforce. When Panola County became ACT certified for workforce development, the needle was moved.
“No economic development organization can accomplish its mission without its partners,” Azar said. “And that’s exactly what we have to be.”
“That’s why they call people stakeholders. They have a stake in the direction of the city and county economically,” he said.
“We recognized who these different people and organizations are and we now have them stepping up to the plate for the good of everybody,” Azar said.
The event will begin at 5 p.m. with a social hour. Dinner buffet and the night’s program is scheduled for 6 p.m.
A long-time Republican, Secretary Hoseman is expected to tout the high points of the Partnership’s recent business development efforts, and offer his support for Batesville and Panola County’s workforce improvement agenda.
A native of Warren County, Hoseman has been Secretary of State since January 2008. Before seeking public office, he was a partner in the Phelps Dunbar firm, specializing in business and taxation law.
Hoseman earned a bachelor’s degree in business from Notre Dame University, a law degree from Ole Miss, and a master’s in taxation law from New York University.
An avid hunter and jogger, he has completed both the New York and Boston Marathons and represented the state in the Senior Olympics.