Category Archives: Education

Starkville Looking to Beat the Heat with First Annual Lemonade Day

Starkville Looking to Beat the Heat with First Annual Lemonade Day

STARKVILLE – Courtesy of The Dispatch

Starkville will be taking part in its first annual Lemonade Day – an extension of National Lemonade Day – in conjunction with a bunch of young entrepreneurs and Cadence Bank. The purpose of the vent is to help parents and their enterprising children learn more about running a business – both the good (profits) and the not so good (dealing with loans and permits). Signup is at 9AM sharp at the Glo office at 419 419 East Lampkin Street in Starkville.

Cadence Bank will be offering small loans to the participants to help them get started, and the organizers are set up to accept a hundred or so applicants: “Loosely, we’re thinking it will be for ages K-7th grade, but we’re not going to limit that if an older kid wants to participate,” said Jeffrey Rupp, Director of Outreach for the Mississippi State Entrepreneurship Center. “This is fun.” MSU and seventeen businesses have agreed to let the nascent shopkeepers set up on their sites.

Registrants will also receive a backpack with an entrepreneur workbook and access to an online interactive program that teaches them the lessons that Lemonade Day was designed to impart.

To learn more or to register for Lemonade Day Starkville, visit: https://lemonadeday.org/starkville

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MS SoS Sees Educated Workforce as Vital for State’s Future

MS SoS Sees Educated Workforce as Vital for State’s Future

STARKVILLE – Courtesy of the Dispatch

Mississippi Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann speaks to Rotary Club members at the Starkville Country Club Monday – Photo by Luisa Porter, Dispatch Staff

Mississippi Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann spoke to the Starkville Rotary Club on Monday, emphasizing the importance of education in order to help further improve the state’s future workforce. He noted that this need not always mean a four-year college degree, and that proper training via career tech centers can be just as valuable for students who are willing to undertake whatever training suits them:”Taking that silo, where we have a university, junior college, a high school, all of that needs to be towards one goal and that one goal would be to have an educated workforce,” he said. “And about 60-70 percent of that educated workforce will not have a college degree. That’s critical — I want you to have that college degree if that’s what you want to do. If you want to work with your hands and be a plumber, you can come to Jackson in the winter and make a million dollars.”

Hosemann said that it is vital to expose students to as many different career path options as early as is practical in their education, to get youths interested in learning about career paths that suit their own interests and talents. He also noted that, while our Unemployment level is low at the moment, that number only includes adults who are actively looking for work, and have been doing so only up to a certain amount of time: “The most significant number that we have in Mississippi is not what our percentage unemployment is,” he said. “It is workforce participation. We are at 55 percent between 18 and 64 (years old). That number is one of the lowest in the country. . .If there were 65 percent working, we could build bridges everywhere,” he went on to say. “We could have schools everywhere. We’d have plenty of money to go around. We’d have another 100,000 or 200,000 people working in Mississippi.”

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Unemployment Rate Spiking But Still Lower Than Last Year

Unemployment Rate Spiking But Still Lower Than Last Year

GOLDEN TRIANGLE – Courtesy of The Dispatch

Data that was recently made public by the Mississippi Department of Employment Security is showing that unemployment in the area (Clay, Lowndes, Oktibbeha and Noxubee counties) has flattened out as of late, helping to mollify the effects of spikes over the past year; the overall number is actually lower than last year at this time. The most recent spike is believed to be a possible result of teenage students who are seeking summertime jobs.

Despite the recent jump, more able-bodied Mississippians are working today than at any time since July 2008. As of May, there were 1,218,700 people in the state with jobs.

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CRA Says They Have Faith in Former Lee Middle Development Project

CRA Says They Have Faith in Former Lee Middle Development Project

COLUMBUS – Courtesy of The Dispatch

Ward 6 Councilman Bill Gavin (courtesy photo)

The Columbus Redevelopment Authority is banking on tax incentives and the reputation of the development group (Military Lee, L.L.C.) to ensure that the plans for the pending sale of Lee Middle School property come to fruition as promised. “You’d be a fool to buy all that land, and not do anything with it,” said Jeff Turnage, attorney for both the city and CRA

CRA announced Saturday that Military Lee had agreed to purchase the former Lee Middle School Property — approx. 15 acres — for $450,000. The Columbus Municipal School District owns the property, and its board of trustees must first approve a $1 sale of the property to CRA before the authority can execute the sale to the developer.

“I know they’re very serious,” Ward 6 Councilman Bill Gavin said. “They do have a history of a development in Jackson that turned out real well.”

Military Lee, which did not yet have a formal name at at that time, threw their hat into the ring with plans to turn the site into a mixed-use development of residential and commercial entities, while preserving as much of the original structures as possible.

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MSU Breaks Ground on College View Project

MSU Breaks Ground on College View Project

Starkville – Courtesy of The Dispatch

From left, Vice President of Real Estate Development at EdR Mark Grambergs, EdR President Tom Trubiana, Starkville Mayor Lynn Spruill, EdR CEO Randy Churchey, Mississippi State University President Mark Keenum, Mississippi State Institutions of Higher Learning board member Walter Starr and Executive Vice President and COO of EdR Chris Richards break ground on the new student housing site, College View, Monday. The housing complex and day care is expected to open in the summer of 2019. Photo by: Luisa Porter/Dispatch Staff

Work has officially begun at Mississippi State University for a mixed-space residential project that will be the first of its kind in the state. The university held a groundbreaking ceremony on Monday for the College View project, which is to be located at the location of the old Aiken Village apartments before they were torn down.

MSU President Mark Keenum said College View will have 656 beds, 46,000 square feet for retail and a new 7,000 square-foot day care center; if all goes according to plan, it will be complete by summer of next year.  He stated that the facility will provide much-needed housing for Seniors, as well as a convenient retail space: “This project is a bridge, a connector if you will, from the city onto our campus,” Keenum said. “It’s going to benefit this university, no doubt, but it’s definitely going to benefit Starkville. I always say what’s good for Mississippi State is good for the city, and what’s good for the city is good for Mississippi State.”

EdR CEO Randy Churchey said during Monday’s ceremony that he’s excited for the project, and that future planned expansions should bring the total  total housing capacity to around 1,800 beds: “I can really see this area being the area where alumni come back on game days, (or) come for graduations, and really be a gathering spot for alumni and students and faculty for all those special occasions that happen on college campuses,” Churchey said. “Other institutions are looking at this endeavor with, I hope, envy and jealousy. And they’re probably going to try to copy it one day,” he said. “But you guys were the first to get this accomplished, and we’re going to uphold our end of the bargain and get this building built. It’s going to be fantastic for the students, alumni, the city and the university.”

 

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Dept of Commerce Invests $1.8 Million in Golden Triangle’s Future

Dept of Commerce Invests $1.8 Million in Golden Triangle’s Future

WASHINGTON, D.C. – From a Press Release Courtesy of the US Economic Development Association

Thad Cochran Research Park in Starkville – courtesy photo

U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross announced yesterday that the Department’s Economic Development Administration is awarding a $1.8 million grant to the MSU Research & Technology Corporation of Starkville to help build the new Analytical Center for Advanced Microscopy and Microanalysis will be located at the Thad Cochran Research, Technology, and Economic Development Park.

“This project is the product of local leaders’ efforts to generate greater economic opportunities in Mississippi,” said Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross. “The new Analytical Center for Advanced Microscopy and Microanalysis will boost the state’s competitiveness by providing regional businesses with the support they need to grow while simultaneously delivering the critical workforce training necessary to help them thrive.”

The new facility will serve as an industrial resource by providing the instruments, equipment, and expertise businesses need to verify product integrity, support manufacturing, ensure quality control, and contribute to product development.

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MSU, Partnership to Help Oktibbeha Students Get a Taste of Running Businesses

MSU, Partnership to Help Oktibbeha Students Get a Taste of Running Businesses

 

Oktibbeha County – Courtesy of The Dispatch

The Partnership, in conjunction with the MSU Center for Entrepreneurship and Outreach are working together to give local middle- and high-school students a taste of what it’s like to start a business. With help from International Paper, they will be hosting an Oktibbeha County Innovation Challenge for the students. An interest meeting for the challenge is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Thursday at the Glo office at 419 E. Lampkin St.

Partnership CEO Scott Maynard said that the challenge is open to all Oktibbeha MS/HS students: “The program is designed to really introduce students to entrepreneurship and business,” he said. “The goal is the students, individually or in teams, will come up with a project that they would like to see brought to market. Then they would participate in some training and seminars to show them how to develop a business plan. . .They will develop either a real prototype or a mocked-up prototype, and they will present in a shark tank environment to a group of people to sell their idea or their product.”

MSU College of Business Director of Outreach Jeffrey Rupp – Courtesy Photo

A $500 prize is at stake for the winners, along with scholarships for an entrepreneurship summer camp at MSU.

MSU College of Business Director of Outreach Jeffrey Rupp said, “Part of the mission of a land grant university like Mississippi State is to reach out and leverage our resources to boost communities. . . We are fortunate to have a fantastic relationship with the schools and the Partnership in Starkville.” If the first challenge bears fruit, he said, it may be replicated in other cities in the Golden Triangle.

Starkville-Oktibbeha Consolidated School District Superintendent Eddie Peasant expressed his own excitement: “It is important for our students to experience real-world learning,” he said. “The Innovation Challenge combined project-based learning, critical thinking, problem solving and creativity with the resources of the E-Center at MSU for a unique hands-on opportunity for our students. It also provides a unique opportunity to work with (The Partnership) to develop future business leaders for our community.”

 

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Manufacturing Business Has Blossomed in Golden Triangle in Last Decade

Manufacturing Business Has Blossomed in Golden Triangle in Last Decade

 

 

Golden Triangle – Courtesy of Harvard Business School

Over a dozen Harvard Business School faculty, led by Dean Nitin Nohria and Senior Associate Dean for Research Jan Rivkin, came to the Golden Triangle last fall to take an in-depth look into just why our area’s manufacturing business has blossomed to impressively over the past decade. Our area has a labor pool of approximately 500,000 people within a 60-mile radius, a bustling regional airport, several sizeable colleges and universities nearby, and plenty of usable land. The GTR region has brought in nearly six billion dollars in investments and industry in that time, and outsiders have been paying more and more attention: “There are so many good things happening in this area of the country,” said Rivkin. “It’s a story of leadership, cross-sector collaboration, and local competitiveness. This corner of Mississippi is competing for global firms, and often it’s winning.”

Prof Mitch Weiss, Dean Nitin Nohria, Joe Max Higgins, and Prof Jan Rivkin – courtesy photo

Rivkin’s attention was first brought to the region due to a 2016 article in the Atlantic, which prompted him to write to the fine folks at our own GTR LINK. He and others had been studying similar successes abroad, and were excited for the opportunity to learn more about something more home-grown: “We realized that we had a much better understanding of other parts of the world than we had of certain parts of America,” Rivkin recalled. “HBS faculty members used to spend a lot of time visiting those parts of the country, but we had lost touch. There was a stark need for us to reconnect with these areas and learn about them, and from them, in a changing social and political context.”

They found the people of GTR area welcoming and eager to share their knowledge: “Not only were they enormously gracious and hospitable,” Rivkin said. “They were eager for us to come and learn more.” They worked closely with the LINK to arrange times for their sixteen members to visit on October 30 and 31 of last year.

“Many of the faculty, including Dean Nohria and Professor Rivkin, intentionally selected the Golden Triangle because of the significant economic development there in the last few years,” said Alain Bonacossa, Senior Director for Research Administration and Behavioral Research Services at HBS. “They wanted to understand how that came about so they could bring those lessons to bear in the classroom and for other communities in their research.”

They began by attending a series of meetings in Columbus hosted by LINK’s charismatic CEO, Joe Max Higgins: “In the economic development business,” he explained, “coming in second equals coming in last.” They then proceeded to visit EMCC and MSU to learn about their own advancements in student training and close work with manufacturers; they also went to visit some local plants to see their work up close and personal.

Rivkin summed up his takeaways from his time well-spent in the GTR as such: “Leaders in the Golden Triangle have developed trust and hope, and it shows in the novel ways they work together . . . The Golden Triangle folks helped me see that if you’re going to be in a game like this, you’d better be very well organized and very talented. And they are .”

The HBS contingent – courtesy photo

He also said that, having read and heard many good things about our area and its focus on attracting business, these things were proven true: “You always wonder when you go to a place that’s received such glowing reviews if it will live up to its billing. The Golden Triangle did and then some.”

Joe Max Higgins has even returned the favor, going up to Harvard to spread a little of his wisdom around: “Students were deeply impressed by the collaboration shown in GTR’s revitalization, and they learned a lot about leadership from their time with Joe Max and Macaulay,” Professor Kerr said. “Their southern charm and humor also made for a riotously fun day.”

Rivkin finished by saying that “Many of the ideas from trips like these percolate in the backs of our minds and, eventually, find their way into research or teaching,” he said. “There are short-term and long-term benefits, and it’s a win-win for everyone involved. Getting out into the world is vitally important for our work here on campus.”

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MSU Obtains $7 Million Grant for Roadway Improvements

MSU Obtains $7 Million Grant for Roadway Improvements

STARKVILLE, MS – Courtesy of the Starkville Daily News

U.S. Senator Thad Cochran, R-Mississippi,recentlyannounced a $7 million federal transportation grant for Mississippi State University. The grant is intended to pay for development of a roughly two-mile multimodal corridor on Hightower Road, a portion of which is to be named “Bulldog Way.” The corridor will connect Blackjack Road to East Lee Boulevard.

“Mississippi State proposed this multimodal project to help alleviate gridlock and improve safety for students, faculty, visitors, and Starkville residents,” Cochran said.  “I’m pleased that the Department of Transportation will invest in this project, which will improve the overall quality of life for the Starkville and Oktibbeha County community.”

MSU spokesman Sid Salter stated that “[Recent] growth has put a tremendous strain on the existing transportation infra­structure, both on campus and in the community . . .The Hightower Road Corridor Project in concert with other planned improvements seeks to alleviate this potential transportation ‘gridlock’ by providing a needed north/south multimodal corridor on the eastern border of the campus to connect Blackjack Road with the northern portion of campus.”

Congress annually appropriates funding for these TIGER grants, which are awarded on a competitive and matching fund basis, and are directed toward projects that are expected to have a significant economic impact.  Since 2009, Mississippi has received nearly $100 million in TIGER funds.

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GTR LINK Speaking with Several Companies about New Starkville Development

STARKVILLE – Courtesy of the Dispatch

GTRD LINK CEO Joe Max Higgins talks with a Starkville Rotary Club member Monday at Starkville Country Club. He discussed Starkville’s planned industrial park at the club’s weekly meeting. Photo by Luisa Porter – The Dispatch

Golden Triangle Development LINK CEO Joe Max Higgins said the LINK is ready and waiting to help make Starkville’s and Oktibbeha County’s new industrial park a reality. Higgins passed on the news while attending a meeting of the Starkville Rotary Club. He stated that the LINK is working with three companies with regards to an 80-acre parcel on the east side of the industrial park.

“We’ve got two, possibly three projects that we’re working that’ll fit [there],” Higgins said. “See, we can’t put somebody out there [in the rest of the site] until this zoning thing is closed because it puts the company and us in potentially having a bad problem. However, these companies could plug and play to go in there right now. A distribution facility could go in there right now.” He anticipates that the projects could create 175 to 300 jobs.

Higgins also spoke of a recent visit he paid to Boston and the Harvard School of Business, which is itself utilizing the information they gathered from a trip they took last fall, when they came to the Golden Triangle region in order to create two case studies for its students. He went on to say that these studies, along with the national media attention garnered by The Atlantic and by his appearance on “60 Minutes” has helped to raise the GTR’s profile and attracted the attention of groups such as Dartmouth  and the Harvard faculty:  “The world is watching what we do,” he said.

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