Coley gives Legislative update to Chamber

Published: Thursday, May 16, 2013 at 06:50 PM.

He said the days of counties or cities working on their own to attract industry are over. “We have to work together, it has to be a regional effort these days to attract business,” Everett said. “For example, the mega-site project that has been in the works for Jackson County — when that happens, there could be 1,500 to 2,000 new jobs. Can you imagine what that would mean for all of us?”

Coley also said the 2013 Legislative Session was important for its concentration on education. “It was a great year for education,” she said. “Education is such an important key to having a strong economy.”

The Legislature found more money for the school districts, which Coley said should mean teachers will be receiving raises this year. The Legislature also passed legislation restructuring the educational paths for students.

She said the new legislation will provide three pathways for students to receive a standard high school diploma — a scholar track, leading to college studies, a career track that will offer professional certifications for high school graduates so they will have skills with which to gain employment after high school; and a standard track which will prepare students to have the math, science and reasoning skills needed to be employed.

“I spoke to a manager at a port in Panama City, and he told me that they had positions they were unable to fill, because the applicants could not pass a basic math and skills test required for employment,” Coley said.

Coley, a former teacher, said she gets excited when she talks about education.

“One of the great things about being in the Legislature, you deal with so many different topics, you can’t be an expert on them all. But when it comes to education, that’s my area of expertise.”

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