The investment will be matched with $2 million in local funds and is expected to help retain 350 jobs.

U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo announced on Tuesday that the Department’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) is awarding a $4 million grant to Panola County, Mississippi, to renovate a former outlet mall building for use as a workforce training center that will serve North Mississippi.

This project will help establish the Concourse, a vocational and technical training facility that will work to meet local employers’ existing and future workforce needs.

The EDA investment will be matched with $2 million in local funds and is expected to help retain 350 jobs and generate $11 million in private investment, according to grantee estimates.

The Secretary of Commerce said that this EDA investment will support Panola County as it works to expand workforce development programs and ensure that residents have the skills they need to compete for good-paying jobs.

Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development Alejandra Y. Castillo said the Concourse will be an important asset in growing the region’s capacity to provide the critical vocational training programs that businesses and workers in the region need to compete.

U.S. Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS) and Congressman Bennie G. Thompson (MS-02) also celebrated the investment in Panola County.

Senator Hyde-Smith said she is pleased with the opportunities this project will create to strengthen job retention and job creation in this region.

“The leadership in Panola County, North Delta Planning and Development District, and Northwest Community College have worked toward this goal for several years, and I’m pleased with the opportunities this project will create to strengthen job retention and job creation in this region,” Hyde-Smith said. “I appreciate that public-private resources being used to bring this project to fruition, and I look forward to it becoming fully operational.”

Congressman Thompson said that he is pleased to support the work that the Economic Development Administration is achieving to help South Panola County.

“The EDA project will help the area by renovating an old outlet mall and transforming it into a workforce training center,” Thompson said. “The work that EDA is achieving is amazing and phenomenal. This investment will give the businesses the growth that is needed.”