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GOLDEN TRIANGLE, Miss. (WCBI News)- Earlier this week, we gave you a story on the appeal of the area and what makes people want to stay and establish their lives, but does the story have the facts to back it up?

We spoke with researchers at the National Strategic Planning and Analysis Research Center, or NSPARC, at Mississippi State, and the numbers show the Golden Triangle as well as the state’s population have the potential for growth.

For the last twenty years, the overall population of the Golden Triangle has remained stagnant, not showing any signs of growth or loss.

But Mimmo Parisi with NSPARC knows how we can fix this.

“The way we tell our story is really what’s going to make a difference,” said Parisi.

The story being that Mississippi has no opportunity for its graduating students.

Parisi looks to change that.

“The key is to make sure that our investments as a state, you know, remain in the state. As far as the Golden Triangle area, we do have opportunities that are pretty appealing to our students,” said Parisi.

A recent study done by NSPARC shows that 65% of graduates find jobs in the state within a year of graduating, and over half work in Mississippi for at least 5 years.

This percentage is attributed to technology that has been developed to help find these jobs.

“We created this new technology called msgradjobs, so every graduate through our university system, when they graduate and sign up in the system, they will receive weekly or or hourly or monthly notifications of every possible job available in this state that matches their specific background,” said Parisi.

The result? 98% of those who sign up find a job within the state.

This is only a part of something bigger in our state’s legislature.

“The whole package is called “Mississippi Works.” This has been the governor’s office’s initiative to use data and technology to connect people real-time and to be responsive to our employers and to our people when it comes to help them to find a job,” said Parisi.

Parisi says that the problem isn’t jobs coming into the area; it’s the fact that people don’t know about them.

The plan is to create a career-aware mindset in students’ minds at ages as young as the third grade.

That way, when the time comes to make a move into the working world, they may decide to continue to call the Golden Triangle and Mississippi home.

“We are telling a different story to our children. We’re not telling them that Mississippi is the poorest or there’s no opportunities, but we’re trying to change the way we’re telling our stories. You don’t have to go to California; You don’t have to go to New York. You can find a job that you want right here,” said Parisi.

Parisi and NSPARC are optimistic that with this technology and career-awareness programs will help add to the number of people who are already staying in the area.

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