On Thursday and Friday, Nov. 9-10, a tri-state Delta Issues Summit, “Delta WISE…Working to Influence a Spirit of Entente,” will be held at the Gold Strike Resort in Robinsonville, Miss.
Sponsored by Class II of the Mid-South Delta Leaders (MSDL) program, the summit will consist of four sessions focusing on economic development, education, public policy and cross-cutting issues. Two political roundtables are also planned.
“Class members have been studying effective strategies and opportunities that exist in the tri-state Delta region. At the Summit, they will share their findings through presentations and panel discussions,” commented Myrtis Tabb, MSDL Tri-State Leader.
Sessions planned include:
“Cut to the Chase: Economic Development in Mid-South Delta Communities.” Given the chronic nature of the Delta’s high unemployment and low income, panelists will highlight the importance of receiving input from experts that “cut to” extremely frank, honest and detailed assessments of Delta communities: What’s wrong, what’s right, why and what needs to be done? Panelists include: Frank Howell, Mississippi, Delta Council Development Department; Clif Chitwood, Arkansas, Great River Economic Development Area; and, Lisa Smith-Vosper, Louisiana, Louisiana Board of Regents.
“Education . . . It Takes a Village.” The US Labor Department notes that an increased number of jobs in the future will require more than a high school diploma as well as require workers to be life-long learners to remain productive and competitive in our global economy. Panelists will discuss developments in education at elementary, secondary and post-secondary levels as well as how parents can get involved to change the future of our children and region. Panelists include: Mary Hardy, Mississippi PTSA President; Toya Barnes, Academic & Student Affairs, Louisiana Community and Technical College System; and, Melba Kennedy, Career and Technical Education, Louisiana Department of Education.
“Real People Affecting Public Policy Change.” It is important for Delta citizens to play a role in impacting public policy. Panelists will discuss mechanisms used to change public policy and tips for lobbying at the local, state and national levels. Panelists include: Hayes Dent, Hayes Dent Public Strategies, Mississippi; John Hines, MS Delta Revitalization Taskforce; Andy Taggart, Andy Taggart, Legal and Strategic Counsel, PLLC, Mississippi; Tiffany Frazier, SGA President, Arkansas State University; and, Bill Kopsky, Arkansas Public Policy Panel.
“Leadership . . . ‘Outside the Box’.” Practical leadership exists in our Delta communities. It is an investment of time and money that is worth examining. This session will describe an ‘outside of the box’ approach toward developing our leaders in the Delta through a cross-sectional effect that will be beneficial, economical and practical enough to improve leadership development in the Delta. The speaker for this session is Kathryn Copper, KC Communications.
MSDL serves as a forum to share ideas, encourages participants to bring their strengths to collaborative efforts and brings together persons of diverse backgrounds in a variety of programs and experiences in a non-traditional learning process.
The program is funded by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation/Mid-South Delta Initiative and is a partnership between Delta State University in Cleveland, Miss.; Arkansas State University in Jonesboro, Ark.; and Grambling State University in Grambling, Louisiana.