BENTON -- Scott County commissioners want to do anything they can to spur more development in the county.
That is why they have taken an interest in attending Wired initiative meetings.
Last week, Presiding Commissioner Jamie Burger attended a meeting in Cape Girardeau, and the commissioners plan to attend another regional meeting in Sikeston on Tuesday.
"There's a wealth of resources there that we need to tap into," said Burger at Thursday's regular commission meeting.
"I'm going to find out what is out there for us and what we have the capabilities to apply for to get for Scott County," said Commissioner Dennis Ziegenhorn. "If there's something out there for us, we need to be aware of how it can help our county."
Fourteen counties in southeast Missouri have recently come into $5 million in funding through the Workforce Investment Board. That money will be used to develop programs on a regional basis -- it won't be divided to additional counties. The southern portion of Scott County, as well as Mississippi, New Madrid and Stoddard counties fall in one region, which Tuesday's forum will encompass, said Missy Marshall, executive director of the Sikeston Area Chamber of Commerce.
The meetings are being held to determine what programs are needed to improve the local economy and workforce -- which includes a dialogue about any changes that may be needed in how children are educated, Marshall continued.
"This meeting is really open to anybody who is interested," said Marshall. However, those who participate in the education and/or business field have been targeted -- although that includes owners, employees, teachers and even concerned parents, to name a few.
"We want input and conversation," said Marshall. "We want people to talk about what they feel is going on in our area."
That includes giving students the skills they need to go out in the community and start a small business -- or even return to the southeast Missouri for their career after they graduate from college. The dialogue will also address what services can be offered at places such as the Sikeston Career and Technology Center for professions that may not require a college degree, but does require passing a state board exam.
"We've got kids for whom it may not be appropriate for them to go on to a full four-year program," said Marshall. "Why not figure out what else we need and help those kids be better prepared?"
A growth of economic development -- as well as population numbers -- is of interest to municipal and county governments because it creates business and personal property taxes, in addition to more dollars being spent locally.
Marshall urged how all sorts of ideas and viewpoints are welcomed and encouraged at the forum.
"We've got to think a little less traditionally about what we're doing," she said. "Right now, we've got some shortfalls."
What: Wired Education and Business Innovation Forum
When: 6:30 p.m. Tuesday
Where: Sikeston Career and Technology Center, 200 Pine St.
What: Discussion to promote innovation, revitalize the local economy and improve local workforce skills