Lee County School district voters reaffirmed backing of their school system Tuesday with a 91 percent majority approval of a $15 million bond issue to fund a career and technical education center.
The technical center will be built at the Community Development Foundation’s new industrial park called the Hive where Lee County Schools owns 20.62 acres of land. Construction should begin in late spring with a goal of having the center completed by fall 2021.
Lee County deserves a pat on the back for coming together and investing in education. While those decisions aren’t always the easiest ones to make, they will make a direct impact in the lives of students who will soon become the next generation of our workforce and community leaders.
The need for career and technical education centers is becoming more evident throughout the region. Nicholas Wyman, the CEO of IWSI America which is a global enterprise, committed to skills and workforce development, said “The manufacturing sector is growing and modernizing, creating a wealth of challenging, well-paying, highly skilled jobs for those with the skills to do them. The demise of vocational education at the high school level has bred a skills shortage in manufacturing today, and with it a wealth of career opportunities for both under-employed college grads and high school students looking for direct pathways to interesting, lucrative careers. Many of the jobs in manufacturing are attainable through apprenticeships, on-the-job training, and vocational programs offered at community colleges. They don’t require expensive, four-year degrees for which many students are not suited.”
In Sunday’s edition of the Daily Journal, we wrote an editorial supporting the Lee County School District’s proposed the $15 million bond issue. We also asked our readers if they support having one technical center for Lee County/Tupelo. Ninety percent of readers who participated in our poll responded with an overwhelming “yes.”
When looking at groups who have come together to combine their efforts for the overall good of all involved, the PUL Alliance comes to mind.
The PUL Alliance was formed by local governments in Pontotoc, Union, and Lee counties to promote job creation and economic development, and was instrumental in bringing Toyota Motor Company to Northeast Mississippi. The partnership allowed local governments to cross county lines and share in development costs as well as any potential revenue resulting from the development of the Wellspring industrial site near Blue Springs in Union County.
The LCSD and Tupelo Public School District should consider a similar partnership and discuss the possibility of working together to have one facility for all students.
We, and readers participating in the poll and commenting online, see it as an economical and feasible option for the county, city and region – to consolidate all resources, working together to build our workforce.
Tuesday’s vote is a testament to the value and significance placed on career and technical education.