Home » AccelerateMS announces new research analyst hire and two internal promotions 

AccelerateMS announces new research analyst hire and two internal promotions 


JACKSON, MS — AccelerateMS, the lead office for workforce development strategy and coordination, has hired Ben Alexander as a Research Analyst and announced the promotions of LeAnne Nixon to Adult Programs Manager and Kari Thomas to Project Manager.

“Recruiting talented individuals is paramount to building a strong team, but we also know that recognizing and cultivating talent from within is an important value at AccelerateMS,” said Executive Director Courtney Taylor. “As we continue to grow our team, their combined expertise and dedication will help us find even more innovative solutions for workforce development that will benefit all Mississippians.”

In his new role, Alexander will help organize data related to economic development activity and programs administered by the office. Focusing on program outcomes, he will collaborate on research using existing data sets and the state’s longitudinal data system to support critical initiatives, including economic development projects and general workforce readiness.

Prior to joining AccelerateMS, Alexander served as a project manager with the Research and Curriculum Unit at Mississippi State University since 2019. Before his time at the RCU, he worked in the K-12 educational system for 13 years as both a teacher and administrator. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in History from Mississippi University for Women and earned a Master of Science and an Educational Specialist degree in School Administration from Mississippi State University.

In her new role, Nixon will manage adult-focused programs within the office, including the strategic direction of programming and activities to ensure Mississippi’s talent development system prepares participants for high-quality careers through partnerships with educational and community partners.

Nixon joined AccelerateMS in 2022 as an ecosystem coordinator, supporting local workforce development initiatives in the southeastern region of the state. Before that, she spent over 18 years at Jones College in several roles, most recently as the workforce college coordinator and instructor for adult education and business. She received a Bachelor of Business Administration from Mississippi State University and a Master of Business Administration from Delta State University.

As a project manager, Thomas will oversee all aspects of a variety of assigned projects, with a primary focus on managing relationships and deliverables.

She joined AccelerateMS in 2023 as an ecosystem coordinator for the central region of the state, supporting local workforce development initiatives. She holds a Bachelor of Mass Communication/Media Studies from Jackson State University.

AccelerateMS serves the people and businesses of Mississippi by developing and deploying workforce strategies to connect individuals with transformative, high-paying careers. By leveraging resources and partnering with organizations that hold complementary missions, AccelerateMS effectuates positive change, creating sustained individual, community, and statewide economic prosperity.