Video: EMCC Communiversity Project Gets Major Boost

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Thad Cochran (R-Miss.), with the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC), today announced the award of a $6.1 million federal grant to support construction of a workforce training facility focused on increasing Mississippi’s advanced manufacturing and engineering capabilities.

The federal ARC grant to East Mississippi Community College (EMCC) represents a federal contribution to a $38 million workforce training facility, called a “Communiversity,” at the entrance to the Golden Triangle Regional Global Industrial Aerospace Park in Lowndes County.

“This exciting new facility will strengthen Mississippi’s ability to provide high-skilled workers for the growing aerospace, automotive and manufacturing industries in this region,” said Cochran, chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee.  “I’m pleased the Appalachian Regional Commission has chosen to invest in this project, which has broad support from state and local governments, industry and higher education.”

“Training our workforce to meet the emerging opportunities in advanced manufacturing is an investment in Mississippi’s economic future,” said Earl Gohl, Federal Co-Chair of the Appalachian Regional Commission. “Projects like this are part of our ongoing commitment to creating a competitive Appalachia.”

The FY2015 Energy and Water Appropriations Bill included $10 million for ARC to support workforce training programs in south-central Appalachia, which includes Mississippi.  The project fits within ARC’s mission as economic development agency of federal, state and local governments across 420 counties in 13 Appalachian states that focuses on business development, education, and job training.

The nearly 140,000-square-foot facility would accommodate EMCC Manufacturing Technology & Engineering Division credit and non-credit courses related to training workers for careers in advanced manufacturing.  It is intended to enhance a growing manufacturing sector in East Mississippi by supporting workforce development for industries like Yokohama Tire, PACCAR, and Airbus Helicopter that already call the Golden Triangle home while also serving to lure more jobs to the region.

The facility will expand EMMC workforce training capabilities to offer state and national credentials in important manufacturing and engineering sectors, including electromechanical, mechatonics, automation and controls, and precision machining technologies. The facility will also host dual enrollment programs for high school students interested in transitioning directly into the workforce or pursuing applied technology degrees at universities.

In addition to this federal funding, the “Communiversity” is being financed through an $18 million contribution from the State of Mississippi, and $13.5 million from Lowndes, Oktibbeha and Clay counties.  The facility is also expected to draw support from corporate partners to assist in equipment and operational expenses.

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