September 30, 2014  

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Participants Share Ideas at Community Economic Security Forum

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From left, Steve Miller of the National Center for Spectator Sports Safety and Security and Andre Heath of the College of Science and Technology talk with Al Myles of the Southern Rural Development Center and Mississippi State Extension Service Friday during an economic security conference held at the Trent Lott Center. (University Communications photo by David Tisdale)

Community members brought their ideas about how American can regain its financial footing to an economic forum Friday at the Trent Lott National Center for Excellence in Economic Development and Entrepreneurship on The University of Southern Mississippi Hattiesburg campus.

Sponsored in part by the Kettering Foundation, the purpose of the forum series, titled “Economic Security: How Should We Take Charge of Our Future?”is to solicit ideas from citizens about how the country can recover from the current economic downturn. The event was coordinated by Southern Miss Economic Development Associate Professor Dr. Chad Miller.

Al Myles, interim director of the Southern Rural Development Center at Mississippi State University, spoke at the meeting. He cited a combination of poor financial decisions by banks, Wall Street, government at all levels and private citizens to create “the perfect storm” leading to the recent economic crisis.

The resulting loss of jobs and impact on personal income has had a psychological effect similar to that created by the Great Depression, he said, with consumers less likely to spend and businesses less likely to invest in new employees, production and equipment.

Event participants split into smaller focus groups to share ideas about what steps can be taken to help secure a healthier economic climate for the nation. Input from the forum and others similar to it that have been held across the country will be presented to political leaders in Washington, D.C. this summer for consideration in the development of economic policy.

The forum was one of many held across the country. To learn more about this initiative, online visit www.nifi.org.