The state will match the funds with $1.8 million as Mississippi, DOD partner to modernize shipbuilding capacity through a consortium.

Last week, the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) announced that $4,999,634 was being directed to the Mississippi Department of Employment Security-led Mississippi-Shipbuilding Industry Preparedness for National Security Consortium.

Those funds are being used to undertake a $6,694,579 project to bolster national security by modernizing Mississippi’s shipbuilding industry by enhancing sector capacity, capability, competitiveness, and resiliency.

“The project will create a skilled and diverse talent pipeline for the region’s shipbuilding industry, accelerate adoption of Industry 4.0 manufacturing practices in the shipbuilding supply chain, and develop advanced solutions designed to enhance worker safety,” the Department of Defense stated in their release. “Consortium members will implement regionally-tailored strategies in support of each goal, ensuring partners have a broad reach and a lasting impact.”

Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves welcomed the news, tweeting on Monday that, “Mississippi is partnering with the DOD to modernize our shipbuilding capacity by strengthening our state’s talent pipeline.”

Reeves thanked AccelerateMS and everyone who helped make this happen, saying they are doing a tremendous job building the workforce of tomorrow here in Mississippi.

Mississippi U.S. Senators Roger Wicker, a senior member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, and Cindy Hyde-Smith, a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, also praised the award from the DOD to the State of Mississippi to modernize the state’s shipbuilding industry.

The two Senators noted that the DOD grant will be matched by an additional $1.8 million investment from the state.

“Mississippi’s shipbuilders are the finest in the nation, but developing and retaining our talent requires long-term investment,” Wicker said. “I am glad the Department of Defense is making our shipbuilding mission a priority, and I am confident that this grant will help enhance our industrial capacity and strengthen our workforce. I look forward to seeing Mississippi lead in building the world’s strongest fleet.”

“This sizeable influx of Defense Department resources will strengthen the hand of this Mississippi shipbuilding consortium to prepare more shipbuilders to be part of the stronger national security industrial base our nation must have,” Hyde-Smith said.  “Ultimately, we want to ensure there are more opportunities for more men and women to join the powerhouse that is Mississippi’s shipbuilding industry.”

Consortium members include Mississippi State University Center for Advanced Vehicular Systems, the University of Mississippi Center for Manufacturing Excellence, Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College, Pearl River Community College, Jones College, East Mississippi Community College, Southwest Mississippi Community College, Meridian Community College, Ingalls Shipbuilding, VT Halter Marine, Rolls Royce, Raytheon Intelligence & Space, the Jackson County Economic Development Foundation, the University of Southern Mississippi’s Mississippi Defense Initiative, the Mississippi Community College Board, the Mississippi Manufacturers Association-Manufacturing Extension Partnership, government entities, and K-12 districts.

“Mississippi’s defense industry represents billions of dollars and thousands of jobs which not only keep our country safe but also are a critical piece of our state’s economy,” said AccelerateMS Executive Director Ryan Miller. “I am encouraged by this partnership and the impact it will most definitely have on enhancing shipbuilding capacity and expanding workforce opportunities across Mississippi.”