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If the nation is going to compete and win in tomorrow-s marketplace, then the development of a work force which is more highly skilled and computer literate than ever before is a necessity, said Harold Ford Jr., Tennessee-s 9th District Congressman from Memphis.

Ford will emphasize his message to University of Tennessee at Martin students when he lectures on -Students- Personal Responsibility and Leadership in West Tennessee,- at 7 p.m., Tuesday, Feb. 22, in the Ed and Carolyn Boling University Center Auditorium.

Ford-s lecture, sponsored by the Black Student Association (BSA) as part of its Black History Month activities, is free and open to the public.

-Although America faces an array of challenges as we prepare to embark upon a new millennium, in my view there is no single greater threat to our future economic prosperity, national security and social stability than an uneducated work force,- Ford said.

Ford-s efforts in the House for a more highly skilled and computer work force have kept him busy trying to secure federal funding for the nation-s urgent school construction needs, during the 105th Congress. In addition, he also helped advance an education tax relief package and has been successful in securing increased funding for numerous education initiatives including Comprehensive School Reform and Charter Schools. He plans to continue his work on behalf of America-s children when the 106th Congress addresses the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act.

Ford was re-elected to Congress with about 80 percent of the vote in 1998. He was selected to serve as regional whip for Alabama, Tennessee, Mississippi and Louisiana. He is now working with both Democrats and Republicans to advance legislation on school construction, Social Security reform and managed care reform in the 106th Congress. He also serves on the Subcommittee on the Census.

Before his election to Congress, Ford worked under the leadership of the late U.S. Secretary of Commerce Ron Brown as a special assistant to the Economic Development Administration in 1993. He also served as a special assistant to the Justice/Civil Rights Cluster in the 1992 Clinton/Gore Transition Team and as an aide to the Senate Budget Committee under former U.S. Senator James Sasser.

Ford received his law degree from the University of Michigan School of Law in 1996. He earned a bachelor-s degree in American history from the University of Pennsylvania in 1992. He is the oldest son of former U.S. Rep. Harold E. Ford and Dorothy Bowles Ford of Memphis.