Officials Break Ground On $42 Million Communiversity Project
Golden Triangle, Mississippi – On Friday morning, December 9, 2016 local, state and federal agencies gathered to break ground on the Golden Triangle’s newest workforce development project, The Communiversity.
“Winning in economic development means having training programs that can respond to the market’s needs quickly and produce highly qualified workers,” Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves said. “The Communiversity is yet another example of how our state is committed to success in attracting high-tech jobs. Partnerships between communities, the state and community college system are vital to building a strong economy.”
A $42+ million dollar project, the facility will be East Mississippi Community College’s state-of-the-art workforce technical training facility at the Golden Triangle Campus. The new building will be located between PACCAR Engine Co., and the existing EMCC campus in Mayhew, Miss.
Community groups began working on the project in December 2013. Funding for the project is sourced from state bonds ($18M), the Appalachian Regional Commission ($10.7M), local community funds from Clay, Lowndes and Oktibbeha Counties ($13.5) and EMCC ($400K).
“The Communiversity will bring together some of Appalachia’s best assets – our people, our ideas and our determination.” Said Earl Gohl, Federal Co-Chair of the Appalachian Regional Commission “Appalachia is America’s next great investment opportunity. This project will pay dividends to Mississippi’s Golden Triangle for generations.”
The EMCC Communiversity development is an exciting next phase in technology training and education. It represents a strong partnership between K-12, the community college, the technological university, and area industry with a goal to produce a never ending stream of technically competent team members for some of the world’s most technically advanced manufacturers.
The new facility includes an interactive, museum style lobby and 21 high bay learning areas, a manufacturing display venue, classrooms and laboratories, and incubator bays for new start-ups. The 16 classroom spaces will be equipped with the latest in A/V technology. The facility will also include office, conference, and food service collaboration spaces for EMCC and other entities. The project consists of 145,638 SF.
The addition of the expanded square footage assures room to increase enrollment over the 12,000 per annum of training participants presently at EMCC.
“Federal, state, and local agencies have come together to invest in the workforce here in east Mississippi and we could not be more pleased,” said Dr. Thomas Huebner, East Mississippi Community College President. “This project is a game changer in workforce education and development and we are excited about the opportunities it represents for the communities we serve.”
Both non-credit workforce classes and career technical programs leading to the Associate of Applied Science Degree will be offered. In addition, tailored certificates recognized by business and industry will be offered at the Communiversity, including EMCC’s regional credential in M Multi-skilled Modern Manufacturing (M3.)
Further exemplifying the regionalism effort which brought this project to fruition, Mississippi State University will have onsite presence at the Communiversity.
Construction is underway and is scheduled to be completed in 2018.
“This facility will put the Golden Triangle on the cutting edge of workforce training,” said Joe Max Higgins, Jr., CEO of the Golden Triangle Development LINK. “Clay, Lowndes and Oktibbeha counties should be commended for investing in their citizens. The Communiversity will be a massive asset to industrial recruitment and our existing industries.”
About The GTR LINK:
The Golden Triangle Development LINK is the regional economic development organization for Clay, Lowndes and Oktibbeha counties. Located in northeast Mississippi, the LINK’s current record of investment totals $5.4 billion and more than 5,800 jobs.
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