2nd Chance MS raises funds for ABE and workforce training

Dickie Sruggs, founder of 2nd Chance MS at Thursday's Rotary meeting
Mary Rumore
Staff Writer

For community colleges across Mississippi, 2nd Chance MS has been helping to provide funding for adult basic education and workforce training.
Founder of 2nd Chance MS Dickie Scruggs and Executive Director Zach Scruggs were the keynote speakers during yesterday’s West Point Rotary Club meeting.
Dickie Scruggs said the inspiration for 2nd Chance MS came to him while he was serving six months in federal prison in rural Kentucky for a judicial bribery conviction and mail fraud. He said half the population of the prison was below a sixth-grade reading level.
Dickie Scruggs said federal prisons required inmates who had not graduated high school to obtain adult basic education, which was then known as a GED.
He said once the word got out that he was college educated and a former attorney, the inmates asked him for tutoring help, and after a few months he was asked by the prison staff to teach a GED class.
“Helping these guys get an education gave me a real sense of purpose,” he said. “It was the silver lining in the darkest time of my life.”
Zach Scruggs said 2nd Chance MS’s mission was to raise awareness and funds for adult education and workforce programs to essentially combine the two things Mississippi does best — charitable giving and community college systems — to create a more employable, educated and skilled workforce. He said the lack of an educated and skilled workforce was Mississippi’s biggest barrier to prosperity and growth.
“Mississippi ranks 50th in number of adults with a high school diploma,” Zach Scruggs said “We have over 400,000 adults without a high school diploma. Almost 18 percent of our adult population.”
Mississippi also ranked 50th in workforce participation, which measured citizens who were working or looking for work, according to Zach Scruggs, and only 56 percent of adults are working or looking for work.
He said there were 37,000 unfilled jobs in the state, according to Mississippi Department of Employment Security, and Zach Scruggs said this was because people don’t have education or skills.
See Friday's Daily Times Leader for more.