JACKSON, MS — The U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration (EDA), announced today that the Mississippi Department of Employment Security (MDES), in partnership with Accelerate MS, has been awarded a Strategy Development Grant (SDG) to fund local planning activities related to increasing the labor force participation of 25-54 year olds not currently in the labor force.
The grant, which totaled $499,470, is part of the Recompete Pilot Program, a federal program to create renewed job opportunities in economically distressed communities. MDES and AccelerateMS will have the opportunity to apply for additional funding next year to support a wide range of training and support activities across the identified regions.
“This funding will allow partners to dedicate time and effort to digging deep to determine what training and support efforts will serve the community members best to enable them to be competitive for the good jobs available,” said Dr. Courtney Taylor, Deputy Director for Strategy & Programs at Accelerate MS.
Over an 18-month period, the Accelerate Mississippi Recompete Strategy will address regional prime-age employment gaps by identifying and evaluating barriers to labor force participation and occupational skills attainment in the Jackson, Hattiesburg, and the Delta regions. These regions were selected due to the inordinately high unemployment of the state’s prime-age potential workforce.
A statewide coalition of public-private partners, the Mississippi Alliance for Targeted Career Help (MATCH) project, was developed to address indicators of economic distress in unique regions of the state by supporting infrastructure needs and complementary education and training initiatives for manufacturing, cybersecurity/information technology, and healthcare jobs.
Robin Stewart, Interim Executive Director at MDES, said “The Strategy Development Grant provides an opportunity to support communities in Mississippi by connecting underserved populations with high-quality careers.”
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.