Representatives from three counties are participating in this year’s Aspire Mississippi program, which is designed to assist local leaders who will implement innovative programs and projects to spur economic growth and enhance the quality of life in their communities.
Representatives from Claiborne, Holmes and Sunflower counties, each led by their respective local economic development organizations, are participating in this year’s program.
“The teams participating in this year’s Aspire Mississippi program join a number of local leaders from around the state who have previously completed the program in order to make significant positive changes within their communities,” said MDA Interim Director John Rounsaville. “MDA is proud to partner with Claiborne, Holmes and Sunflower counties as they take the lead on building stronger, more vibrant communities that will benefit their residents for many years to come.”
Aspire Mississippi provides support to participants as they identify marketable assets, allowing them to increase community and economic development in their counties. The program helps communities develop projects that will achieve significant and sustainable outcomes. Curriculum focus areas include project mapping, community development, economic development and workforce development. The location for each session alternates among the participating Aspire Mississippi counties, with the first and last sessions held in Jackson.
Participants in the 2019 program graduated in December. They represented Covington, Lawrence, Leake, Panola, Sharkey and Walthall counties. Their projects were:
- Covington: Soft Skills and Workforce Training – a program designed to teach high school students soft skills so they are better prepared to enter the workforce
- Lawrence: “Whirl on the Pearl” – a project designed to increase tourism along the Pearl River
- Leake: Carthage Coliseum – a project focused on making structural and aesthetic improvements to the Carthage Coliseum and the adjoining property
- Panola: “Made in Panola” – a program focusing on soft skills and introducing high school students to local employers
- Sharkey: “Deep Delta W.O.R.K.S.” – a project focused on providing high school students with improved job and workforce training skills
- Walthall: “Four Star Square” – a project designed to beautify the downtown square in Tylertown
“Through Aspire Mississippi, we aim to help communities reach their full potential by working closely with a diverse team of existing and emerging leaders representing many community sectors,” said MDA Asset Development Division Director Chance McDavid. “It is important to involve traditional leaders like elected officials and business owners, and it is just as important to seek those individuals who are passionate about their communities and participating in community-building initiatives.”
The 2020 Aspire Mississippi program will conclude in December with each teams’ project presentations and a graduation ceremony. For more information, visit mississippi.org/aspire.