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MISSISSIPPI PUBLIC UNIVERSITIES COLLABORATE WITH INDUSTRY TO ADVANCE STATE

11/25/2022 - Jackson, Miss.

Mississippi Public Universities partner with local, state, national and international businesses to enhance learning opportunities for students, conduct research to improve products, and provide services to the community. These collaborations help Mississippi business and industry sector to thrive and prepare students to enter the workforce after graduation.

FedEx Logistics, Inc., a subsidiary of FedEx Corp. (NYSE: FDX), is collaborating with Mississippi Valley State University (MVSU) to provide professional opportunities for students and build a pipeline of talent to support its industry-leading customs brokerage operations. As a result, FedEx Logistics has established a satellite office on the MVSU campus, staffed with qualified students. As a result, students have access to part-time employment while in school, with the potential for a full-time job upon graduation.

MVSU's Business Administration department is helping to prepare students for the workforce today and tomorrow by sending students like Nya Anderson, a senior Business Administration and Accounting major to the Chevron Energy Innovation Summit, a three-day summit where Anderson competed in a case competition that combined design thinking framework, business modeling, and pitch instruction. Anderson learned to create a pitch for Chevron. Anderson took what she learned and won first place in the competition.

Incarcerated people at two prisons in the Mississippi Delta can earn four-year degrees from Mississippi Valley State University this fall for the first time in more than two decades. MVSU's Prison Educational Partnership Program (PEPP) is part of many colleges providing classes in prison with Second Chance Pell. This federal program is restoring access to income-based financial aid for incarcerated people.

Insight Park is a 19-acre dynamic research and business park adjacent to the University of Mississippi campus in Oxford where businesses can take full advantage of opportunities for collaborative research, academic resources and more, including a 62,000-square-foot Innovation Hub.

Through a continuing partnership with Viking Range, students in the University of Mississippi Department of Nutrition and Hospitality Management apply their learnings in a state-of-the-art test kitchen to perfect their skills, while preparing for careers in one of Mississippi's leading sectors: tourism and hospitality.

Beginning in 2023, the University of Mississippi will offer a Master of Science degree in dietary supplement and medical cannabis. As the home to one of the nation's most innovative and long-standing research in cannabis in the country, this degree positions UM researchers uniquely to help guide Mississippi and other states across the region on the benefits of medical marijuana as it becomes accessible to the public.

The University of Mississippi is home to a new center that will prioritize resources toward patient and public safety on the medicinal use of cannabis. The National Center for Cannabis Research and Education will foster and conduct scientific research, data analysis, education and training on the health effects of cannabis. NCCRE researchers and leaders will aid in policymaking and outreach as state programs emerge. Based within UM's School of Pharmacy, the new center's foundation will build on the school's long-standing history of cannabis research.

The University of Mississippi's School of Business Administration 's Risk Management and Insurance program launched a new insurance certificate program to provide students who attend historically Black colleges and universities in Mississippi with training, networks, and experience in this growing industry. The new initiative, set to kick off in the Fall 2023 semester, is fueled by a partnership with industry and the Council of Insurance Agents & Brokers. Funding will support industry efforts to raise awareness of careers in insurance and develop a larger, more diverse workplace pipeline that better represents its customer base. This rigorous program is offered at no cost to participants.

The University of Southern Mississippi's reputation as a comprehensive Carnegie R1 university comes in part from its success in advancing the progress and productivity of research across a broad spectrum of different curriculum, with USM's Technology Development Office (OTD) successfully transferring new discoveries from the lab to the marketplace.

In Hattiesburg, the University's Mississippi Polymer Institute (MPI) is located at The Accelerator, a 60,000 square foot start-of-the-art full-service facility. MPI's services and expertise help serve as an industrial outreach component for the School of Polymers and High Performance Materials by offering services such as: product development, rapid prototyping and 3D printing, laser scanning services, pilot production, and workforce development/training. Local, national, and international companies located at the Accelerator are part of an innovation center for accelerated technologies development, scale-up, market validation, manufacturing, and commercialization-all under the same roof.

On the Gulf Coast, University's Gulf Blue initiative pools the knowledge of research scientists, federal agencies, industry partners and entrepreneurs to further develop the region as a global leader in ocean- and maritime-related technologies. As a result of the initiative, companies like Ocean Aero, which has created the world's first and only environmentally powered Autonomous Underwater and Surface Vehicle are operating from the Mississippi Gulf Coast.

In addition, USM marine scientists are strategically situated at the single-largest concentration of oceanographers and hydrographers in the world at the John C. Stennis Space Center. There, the combination of state, federal and private-sector entities at SSC from NASA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the Department of Defense and others provide a unique resource for Southern Miss. Scientists from on-site organizations serve as adjunct faculty members, providing support for student projects.

Offering the state university system's only undergraduate and graduate aviation programs, Delta State University's Department of Commercial Aviation offers a Bachelor of Commercial Aviation (BCA) in Flight Operations and Aviation Management, and a Master of Commercial Aviation (MCA). Students are prepared for a variety of opportunities in the fast-growing aviation industry, including the airlines, aircraft manufacturing, airport management, air traffic control, military aviation, and logistics. The department offers both a concentration and certifications in logistics, exposing students to critical elements and systems which drive logistics decision-making to manage supply and demand. Courses offered within the logistics concentration include transportation operations management, sourcing and contract management and internal supply chain management. Delta State's continuing education certifications in logistics are accredited by Association for Supply Chain Management (APICS) and are available to both students and working professionals in the field of logistics and supply chain management.

Jackson State University's College of Science, Engineering, and Technology, has been focusing on workforce expansion and upgrading the academic curriculum to coincide with current industry-relevant knowledge. In partnership with Google's Grow with Google program, JSU is committed to equipping 100,000 students through 2025 with the digital skills and tools to assist them in developing the professional, technical, and soft skills required to secure tech industry positions.

Jackson State University's recent partnership with Woolpert, Inc., a premier architecture, engineering and geospatial firm, creates a multi-year relationship to fortify and establish a sense of community resilience in wake of natural disasters among coastal communities in Mississippi.. As part of the partnership, industry leaders will offer undergraduate and graduate students the opportunity to engage in a specialized course entitled, Numerical Modeling, which will provide students the basic fundamental understanding of how to effectively utilize weather modeling to determine and scale the size of impact a natural disaster would have on local communities. By equipping JSU students with industry-knowledge on numerical modeling, students will become industry-experts among their community and positioned for immediate industry impact post-graduation

Jackson State University's partnership with Microsoft's TechSpark Initiative established a four-pronged initiative which included a financial investment from Microsoft toward the expansion of JSU's cybersecurity program that aims to develop workforce opportunities for students. The overall objective for the initiative is to accelerate the process of bridging the digital gap in underserved communities by collaborating with partners to equip students with digital skills training, job opportunities, and industry-relevant computer science education. With the program having commenced over the summer of 2022, JSU has begun working diligently to recruit and train at least 100 students in the field of cybersecurity.

Jackson State University's recent appointment to the National Science Foundation Innovation Corps (I-Corps) positioned the institution to receive up to $1 million in funding over the course of the next five years. I-Corps Hubs provides experiential training to academic researchers across all fields of engineering and science, supporting the commercialization of deep technologies, which grow from discoveries made in fundamental science and engineering. Additionally, Jackson State was awarded a $15 million grant from the National Science Foundation at the 2022 National HBCU Week Conference toward the push to close the digital divide in cyberinfrastructure research. The NSF grant is expected to provide HBCU institutions with campus-specific cyberinfrastructure assessments that foster cyberinfrastructure strategic plans.

In the field of public health, Jackson State University has continued to expand efforts to create an environment for study and research to address the most pressing issues impacting the immediate community. Through a generous $50K donation provided by the Charles Schwab Foundation, the JSU Department of Behavioral and Environment Health is thrilled to begin the process of establishing one of the first Center of Excellence on Breastfeeding and Early Nutrition for Black women in Mississippi. The goal in creating this center is to focus on several areas that will support statewide maternal and child health initiatives aimed at improving infant health, with one component of the center being geared toward education and the other aspect being proper training for caregivers.

Jackson State University's College of Business has been touted as one of the top programs among both HBCUs and in the state of Mississippi celebrating 50 years of service to the JSU community and ultimately the greater society by training students with the analytical skills and knowledge necessary to shift industry paradigms. With the recent $20K grant from CenterPoint Energy, the College of Business aims to assist first-generation students at JSU acquire digital and analytical skills as well as expand the current curriculum into areas pertaining to marketing analytics and expansion support efforts for students seeking to acquire a Tableau Certification. Additionally, in close collaboration with the Deloitte Foundation, Jackson State University is working diligently to diversify the pool of talent available within the CPA profession. The partnership primarily provides full scholarships to students who are seeking a Master of Professional Accountancy.

Located on the campus of Mississippi State University, the Mississippi State Chemical Laboratory provides critical support to the agricultural interests in the state. Agriculture is Mississippi's number one industry generating $6.3 billion dollars in revenue and employing 29 percent of the state's workforce either directly or indirectly. The lab assures quality of fuel, livestock feed, crop protection products, retail foods and more in cooperation with the state's farmers, hospitals, doctors, veterinarians, law enforcement agencies and others in conjunction with such agencies as the departments of Health, Agriculture and Commerce, and Marine Resources.

Home to a fleet of the largest and most capable uncrewed aircraft in academic use, Mississippi State's Raspet Flight Laboratory conducts UAS research on behalf of federal agencies and commercial industry alike. Raspet is the nation's leading academic research center dedicated to UAS advancement. It is the only institute in the world designated both as the FAA's UAS Safety Research Facility and as official UAS Test Sites for both the FAA and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Most recently, the MSU lab acquired TEROS, the largest, most sophisticated uncrewed aircraft system for enhancing the university's capabilities and growing UAS partnerships.

Mississippi State's Center for Entrepreneurship and Outreach consistently forges new partnerships with industry thought leaders as it works with university students, faculty and staff to start and grow successful companies. The center provides world-class strategic guidance and mentorship, builds financial and other tangible resources to support business startups, enhances interdisciplinary relationships, and actively promotes outreach to new students. These efforts help unify, grow and foster a strong campus-wide culture of entrepreneurship that produces more than 100 student startups annually.

The recent announcement of Steel Dynamics' expansion plans in the Golden Triangle go hand-in-hand with Mississippi State's investment over the last few years of $2.5 million in equipment related to steel research. This investment has enabled the university's Center for Advanced Vehicular Systems and the Bagley College of Engineering's Department of Mechanical Engineering to increase its support of the domestic steel industry. These emerging capabilities have enabled MSU to work with Steel Dynamics in a variety of efforts, one of which is the senior design program that has been well received by company engineers.

The Division of Agriculture, Forestry, and Veterinary Medicine at Mississippi State University partners with the state corn, soybean, rice, cotton, and peanut promotion boards to discover solutions to production challenges in our state. Research conducted with the Mississippi Agriculture and Forestry Experiment Station provides best management practices that deliver the greatest impact to Mississippi farmers' bottom lines. MSU Extension agents help transfer the results of the research to farmers to implement in their own operations.

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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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