By the BF Staff
Industry leading companies of all sizes in all industries know they can achieve success with a Mississippi location. With a business-friendly environment and a collaborative, can-do attitude among state, regional and local leaders, Mississippi has the winning formula companies look for when expanding existing operations or seeking new locations. Mississippi consistently recruits top-tier companies with its highly skilled workforce—a workforce the state is committed to developing to fill the in-demand jobs of the future.
In 2016, Gov. Phil Bryant enacted the Mississippi Works Fund, legislation which supplements existing workforce training initiatives throughout the state. The fund commits $50 million to assist in growing the workforce of tomorrow. Seventy-five percent of the funds are allotted for new job creation while 25 percent is allotted for existing workers and workforce certification. The fund has proven to be a valuable resource as corporate leaders rely on a quality trained workforce to help them achieve success and long-term growth in today’s dynamic marketplace by providing a pipeline of skilled workers for their facilities.
Poultry processor Pearl River Foods recently expanded its footprint in Carthage, MS, by constructing a 15,000-square-foot facility adjacent to its current location. The company, which located in Mississippi in 2017, also announced the addition of 450 more jobs, bringing total employment in Carthage to 600 in just more than a year. Mississippi Works Funds are supporting Pearl River Foods’ workforce training efforts.
Northrop Grumman, manufacturer of rotary and fixed-wing autonomous systems and manned platforms in support of the United States and its global allies, announced the addition of a mix of new work to its Unmanned Systems facility in Jackson County. This includes sub-assembly work for the F-35 jet fighter program. The project is a $3.7 million investment which created 60 jobs for workers along the Gulf Coast –employees who received training as a result of the Mississippi Works Fund.
With easy access to North Mississippi’s robust transportation network, prestige beauty retailer Sephora recently opened its new 720,000-square-foot distribution facility in Olive Branch, MS. The distribution facility—the company’s fourth in the United States—represents a multi-million dollar corporate investment and the creation of 400 jobs. Mississippi Works Funds are being used to train Sephora’s new employees to ensure the company’s products reach stores in a quick, efficient manner.
Tool maker Milwaukee Tool and third-party logistics provider FedEx Supply Chain are also benefiting from the Mississippi Works Fund as funds support the training of the companies’ 660 and 450 new employees, respectively.
CREATING AN ENVIRONMENT WHERE BUSINESSES CAN THRIVE
Through forward-thinking initiatives such as the Mississippi Works Fund, the state is able to help these and other manufacturers exceed production goals by enhancing its workforce and creating an environment where businesses can thrive. The legislation also has been instrumental in the start-up of programs critical to helping fill in-demand manufacturing and high-tech jobs throughout the state.
The Mississippi Furniture Academy is the first program started as a result of the Mississippi Works Fund. Launched in 2017, the manufacturing skills program is a 28-hour course designed to train students for in-demand jobs in the furniture manufacturing sector—a powerful economic driver in Northeast Mississippi. Upon completion of the course, Furniture Academy graduates receive two nationally recognized credentials and are placed at the front of the hiring line at participating companies. Furniture companies with a presence in North Mississippi include the world’s largest furniture manufacturer Ashley Furniture, H.M. Richards and Franklin Corporation.
Addressing a need to fill high-tech coding jobs throughout the state, Mississippi Works funds assisted in the creation of the Mississippi Coding Academies, an economic development and educational initiative. The academies offer post-secondary students an intensive 11-month, tuition-free computer science education program. The program prepares highly motivated high school graduates for careers in the high-tech field of coding. Last year, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation supplemented the Mississippi Works funds by granting the academies $1 million to grow the Jackson course from one to four academies, significantly increasing the number of coders in the capital city.
Another critical piece of legislation passed by Gov. Phil Bryant to enhance the state’s strong business climate is the Corporate Franchise Tax Phase Out, which eliminates the state’s corporate franchise tax over a 10-year period. The phase out began in 2018. The law calls for reducing the current $2.50 tax for each $1,000 of capital by $.25 a year until a complete phase out occurs in 2027. Additionally, the first $100,000 of taxable capital is exempt from the franchise tax.
These initiatives join an extensive portfolio of existing business incentives and advantages, making Mississippi’s pro-business climate second to none and allowing the state to achieve economic growth in a variety of industries—from automotive to aerospace. Mississippi offers companies competitive energy rates and a seamless one-stop permitting process, as well as award-winning infrastructure and proven logistics capabilities. The state’s prime location in the Southeast U.S. and well-integrated transportation network, which includes six interstate highways and 14 federal highways, enables companies to reach 55 percent of U.S. business centers and major cities in a day. The state’s 15 ports, including two deep water ports on the Gulf of Mexico, also provide efficient access to national and international markets.
These business advantages and proactive economic development initiatives position companies for years of growth and viability in Mississippi, allowing them to continually sharpen their competitive edge and achieve economic success. To learn more about how a Mississippi location can help your business gain momentum, contact the Locate Mississippi team at (800) 360-3323 or [email protected]sissippi.org.