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3/21/2018 - Jackson, Miss.

Advanced manufacturing plays an important role in Mississippi's economy, providing thousands of jobs at facilities such as Huntington Ingalls Industries, Toyota, Nissan and Raytheon, just to name a few. In addition to offering undergraduate degree programs certified by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology in 16 different fields, universities also support this important sector through research and training.

Mississippi State University's Center for Advanced Vehicular Systems Extension in Canton helps approximately 50 small and midsize manufacturing companies every year by providing technical assistance and expertise on the manufacturing process. Since 2006, CAVS-E has reported $6 billion in economic impact from clients. Additionally, CAVS is partnering with Nissan, Toyota and other leading manufacturers to develop advanced composite materials, batteries and components that will power vehicles of the future.

Students in the Advanced Technologies program at Alcorn State University will have the opportunity to learn how to program and operate a pair of high-tech robots from Nissan's Canton, Miss. vehicle assembly plant. The robots will give students enrolled in Alcorn's degree program in robotics and automation technology hands-on experience that will prepare them well for careers in manufacturing and technology industries.

The defense industry plays a major role in the advanced manufacturing sector in Mississippi, including aerospace, shipbuilding, weapon systems, armored vehicles and other equipment. Shipbuilding is Mississippi's largest civilian employer accounting for 13,063 jobs and more than $1.3 billion in earnings for the state.

The Haley Barbour Center for Manufacturing Excellence at the University of Mississippi offers a unique undergraduate program that allows students to tailor their academic experiences to match their career goals and life objectives, incorporating coursework from the schools of Accountancy, Business Administration and Engineering to give graduates a fundamental understanding of all the disciplines involved in modern manufacturing. This interdisciplinary approach has earned praise from several industries, and graduates of the program attract multiple job offers commanding higher pay than their counterparts from other programs.

The University of Southern Mississippi received a $3 million grant from the United States Department of Defense's Office of Economic Adjustment (OEA) to develop three pilot programs to aid regions whose economic health is dependent upon defense initiatives.

Mississippi was selected for the $3 million pilot program development due to USM's expertise in economic development and the state's dependence on Department of Defense spending with $5.5 billion per year spent in the state.

With funding from the grant, the Southern Miss College of Business and the Trent Lott National Center for Excellence in Economic Development & Entrepreneurship will expand technical service to communities through three primary initiatives:
  • Provide economic diversification technical assistance for communities
  • Create a defense community specialization for the Masters of Science in Economic Development program
  • Create a platform for technology transfer related to defense intellectual property into new economic opportunities.

Additional technical assistance for communities will include cataloging and analyzing existing assets in Mississippi that can be relied upon to support implementation of a statewide comprehensive strategy (market, supply chain, workforce analyses, etc). USM will assist communities and regions in planning short-term and long-term economic strategies designed to minimize defense industry adjustments through data-driven, resiliency-focused action planning.

Advanced manufacturing plays a crucial role in Mississippi's economy and the university system plays a key role in supporting these companies, so they can grow and thrive in our state.

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The Mississippi Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning governs the public universities in Mississippi, including Alcorn State University; Delta State University; Jackson State University; Mississippi State University including the Mississippi State University Division of Agriculture, Forestry and Veterinary Medicine; Mississippi University for Women; Mississippi Valley State University; the University of Mississippi including the University of Mississippi Medical Center; and the University of Southern Mississippi.

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