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ARC Invests $8.9 Million to Boost Manufacturing Workforce Readiness in Mississippi

September 2016

On September 29, 2016, the Appalachian Regional Commission and U.S. Senator Thad Cochran of Mississippi announced the award of three ARC grants to support a $10.5 million workforce readiness initiative targeting the state’s growing automotive, aerospace and advanced manufacturing sectors.

Totaling $8.96 million and matched with $1.59 million in county, state, and private resources, the ARC grants will allow East Mississippi Community College, Northwest Mississippi Community College, and Itawamba Community College to provide training and educational facilities needed to train workers for technical manufacturing positions. The grants are funded through the Commission’s $16 million FY 2016 congressional appropriation to support workforce training programs in southern and south-central Appalachia.

East Mississippi Community College will receive $4.6 million to construct six additional high-bay classrooms as part of the school’s workforce training facility, or “Communiversity,” at the entrance to the Golden Triangle Regional Global Industrial Aerospace Park in Lowndes County.

The Marshall County Board of Supervisors will receive $3.16 million to construct a 30,000-square-foot workforce training and reemployment center in Holly Springs, in partnership with Northwest Mississippi Community College and the State of Mississippi. The center will feature five classrooms, a computer lab, and five high-bay educational spaces for electrical technology, advanced, and automotive manufacturing training.

Itawamba Community College will use a $1.2 million ARC grant to renovate and install a tool-and-die training laboratory and a robotics laboratory within its Belden Center to provide robotics and precision manufacturing technology programs.