Thad has always emphasized improving Mississippi's educational and workforce infrastructure. The son of educators, Thad was strongly influenced by his parents' careers in education. His mother and father met as students at Hinds Community College, and made academic rigor a priority in the way they raised their children. Thad and his brother, Neilson, were immersed in academic environments even at young ages. They spent summers at the University of Mississippi as their parents earned master's degrees, and also lived at Blue Mountain College where their parents were members of the faculty.
Thad championed the Ready to Learn program, which encourages television broadcasters to create programs that provide early childhood education to preschoolers. Because of Ready to Learn, children living in areas where preschool education is not available can turn on the TV and watch shows that provide the tools needed to succeed in school. Thad supports teacher training programs, such as the Mississippi Writing and Thinking Project, and has worked to provide the tools needed to ensure that science, technology, engineering and math are appropriately taught in our schools. Thad has always opposed federal mandates for particular curricula and believes decisions about educating Mississippi's children should be made by Mississippians, not the federal government. That's why he has authored legislation to prevent the federal government from forcing Mississippi to adopt specific curricula, including Common Core.
Thad has made it a priority to ensure that Mississippi's educational and workforce infrastructure provides the support to train new workers and upgrade the skills of the existing workforce. Mississippi's community college system has become a national model during Thad's tenure in Congress, and is helping Mississippi transition from an agriculture-only economy to a 21st Century high-tech economy. Thad helped ensure that resources were spent on skills training and curriculum to create the pipeline of workers that is attracting global companies to Mississippi today. Our community colleges have played a vital role in providing Mississippians opportunity through workforce development programs and have helped attract industry to Mississippi including Nissan (Canton), Toyota (Blue Springs), Yokohama (West Point), GE Aviation (Batesville & Ellisville), Raytheon (Forest), and Northrop Grumman (Moss Point).