Education plus economic development equals jobs for graduates

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Mississippi Today

Leaders of the Board of Trustees of Institutions of Higher Learning and the Mississippi Development Authority sign a formal agreement to work together. Glenn McCullough Jr., left, Dr. Douglas W. Rouse and Dr. Glenn Boyce.

For years, the Mississippi Institutions of Higher Learning and the Mississippi Development Authority have nurtured the crucial link between higher education and economic development in the state.

On Thursday, they formalized their partnership through a memorandum of understanding signed by Glenn McCullough Jr., executive director of the Mississippi Development Authority, Dr. Douglas W. Rouse, president of the Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning and Dr. Glenn Boyce, commissioner of higher education, at the January IHL board meeting in Jackson.

“As MDA works hard to attract new businesses to the state, it is critical that we work together to provide the workforce leaders what they need to thrive,” says Boyce.

In collaboration with state’s eight public universities, the board of trustees and MDA will showcase Mississippi to companies that will create jobs and invest capital.

As outlined in the memorandum of understanding, the expected outcomes include:

  • Increased pipeline of companies to consider Mississippi for expansion and growth
  • Increased number of corporate contacts and project leads for MDA
  • Increased opportunities for corporate entities and Mississippi’s public universities to support one another
  • Defined and mapped catalog of the respective economic development strengths of Mississippi’s public universities
  • Increased business growth across the state
  • Stabilization and growth of jobs in defined sectors

Also at the meeting, an online tool designed to help recent and soon-to-be graduates find jobs in the state, www.msgradjobs.com, was introduced.

“It’s a direct connection of talent to businesses and this represents an opportunity for our best and brightest to have a career here in Mississippi,” says McCullough.

Set to complete the pilot phase and begin statewide implementation soon, the site allows students to receive email alerts when jobs in their desired career tracks become available.

The online tool was conceived by Mark Henry, executive director of the Mississippi Department of Employment Services. The site was developed by the National Strategic Planning & Analysis Research Center at Mississippi State University and is managed by the Mississippi Department of Employment Security. The career centers at the universities help students create a profile and use the site.