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PROGRAMS OFFERED BY MISSISSIPPI PUBLIC UNIVERSITIES ADDRESS WORKFORCE NEEDS IN CRITICAL AREAS

12/2/2022 - Jackson, Miss.

A critical component of success is the human capital that provides the expertise and know-how that enables a business or organization to fulfill its mission. In some fields, finding the human capital to fill all the necessary positions can be challenging. The pandemic exacerbated the nursing shortage. Schools continue to deal with a teacher shortage. There are also emerging fields that must find talent that is prepared to enter their workforce. Mississippi Public Universities design programs to fill these needs, whether they are a consistent need, an increasing need, or an emerging need.

The Mississippi Excellence in Teaching Program (METP) is a collaboration between the University of Mississippi and Mississippi State University to attract top-performing students into the education profession with full financial support, travel abroad opportunities and invaluable professional incentives. METP aims to increase the import - and reduce the export - of talented educators to create a pipeline of new teachers committed to Mississippi's future. All students who enter the program make a five-year commitment to teach in Mississippi after graduation. Funded by the Robert M. Hearin Support Foundation of Jackson, METP is designed to create a unique "honors college-style" learning experience for high-achieving education students and promote collaboration between students and faculty at both universities.

For more than three decades, the Mississippi Teacher Corps, a graduate teacher preparation program at the University of Mississippi School of Education, has trained and placed hundreds of professionals in high-need public schools through an alternate route to teacher certification.

The University of Mississippi Patterson School of Accountancy, ranked consistently among the nation's top accounting schools, offers two graduate degrees incorporating data analytics. The Master of Accountancy and Data Analytics program offers specialization in data analytics paired with graduate-level accounting coursework. The Master of Taxation and Data Analytics program offers specialization in both taxation and data analytics. These innovative degree programs equip students coming into the accounting profession with the tools and critical-thinking skills to deliver deeper insights gleaned from massive data sets. Furthermore, students gain real-world, hands-on experience in data analytics and the ability to transform their analysis into actionable information for decision makers. Both degree programs are STEM designated and are the only programs of their kind in Mississippi.

The University of Mississippi's Institute for Data Science (IDS) serves as a resource for the next generation of data scientists in response to the demand for data-savvy professionals across disciplines and industries. IDS fosters interdisciplinary research and education; enhances relationships and establishes creative partnerships between world-class researchers and industry leaders, community and government stakeholders; and supports graduate and undergraduate degree offerings involving data science and analytical skills. Students develop data science knowledge and skills to unlock insights in large data sets through new courses, workshops, summer internships and faculty-mentored research experiences.

With the sport analytics market expected to experience large growth through 2023, as the industry shifts toward a more buiness0 and information technology-driven model, the University of Mississippi offers an online Master of Science in sport analytics to combine interest in sports with expertise in data analytics to build a career in sport marketing, sport science or human performance. Students are trained for analytical positions in sport business or sport performance areas including collegiate and professional sports teams, sports marketing agencies, media companies, sports betting companies, sport science and strength and conditioning/human performance.

The Center for Air and Space Law at the University of Mississippi School of Law is the nation's leading and only center at an ABA-accredited law school that offers a concentration in air and space law. This concentration provides a comprehensive understanding of legal processes regulating domestic and international aerospace activities and students receive the distinctive, interdisciplinary knowledge and expertise for which the Center is world-renowned.

As the state's only academic medical center, the University of Mississippi Medical Center trains future health professionals, with a keen focus on supplying caregivers for rural communities across Mississippi. This commitment includes programs for aspiring dentists, doctors and nurse administrators and educators who want help address the state's health care challenges in rural areas. The Mississippi Rural Dentists Scholarship Program identifies rural college students who want to return to their roots to practice general dentistry. The Mississippi Rural Physicians Scholarship Program is designed to encourage students to practice medicine in rural parts of the state.

In 2021, the Bower Foundation funded a $3.8 million grant to increase critically needed health care administrators and community college nursing educators by providing graduate medical education for 64 registered nurses through the RN-to-MSN program at UMMC. This transformational investment in nursing education will result in more nurses for the state.

Founded in 1910 as a college dedicated to the training of classroom teachers, Mississippi Normal College, now The University of Southern Mississippi (USM), has more than 100 years of experience in educating excellent teachers. That tradition continues today as the National Board of Professional Teaching Standards has ranked USM 12th in the nation and first in the state of Mississippi for producing new National Board Certified Teachers. Since 1994, when the credential was first offered, 1,073 USM graduates have attained the highest credential in the teaching profession.

Most recently, the Mississippi Department of Education (MDE) has pledged over $2 million to USM to support Mississippi Teacher Residency (MTR) in critical shortage areas. USM's award is the largest grant in the $9.8 million program that will cover tuition and expenses at five Mississippi universities for up to 240 individuals seeking a graduate degree in elementary and secondary education.

Recent USM College of Nursing and Health Professions initiatives have been enacted by skilled, devoted professionals to help offset the critical nursing shortage. Long renowned as a leader in nursing education, USM saw 148 undergraduate and 48 graduate students earn degrees last year.

One unique approach USM has taken to combat the shortage and meet demands is an accelerated pathway to a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree that will be offered on the University's Gulf Park campus in Long Beach, Miss. The pathway will help eligible students earn a BSN degree in a shorter time and decrease barriers to admission, while providing benefits to those who have already earned a higher education degree. The initial cohort is expected to start coursework in January 2023. Plans call for two admission cycles per year.

The Cora S. Balmat School of Nursing at Alcorn State University has a proud tradition of graduating competent, caring, and professional nurses who make a difference in their communities and beyond. Its School of Nursing has produced hundreds of entry-level and advanced practice nurses employed in various leadership and healthcare settings across the globe. The School offers associate, bachelor, master, and Doctor of Nursing Practice degrees. To combat a national nursing shortage, The University of Southern Mississippi (USM) has established partnerships with Alcorn State University, Pearl River Community College, and Jones College to create more accessible pathways for students to earn a nursing degree. The new collaboration developed the Rural Health Scholars Program (RHSP) between USM and Alcorn State. The program's purpose is to increase the number of doctoral-prepared nursing faculty from diverse backgrounds; prepare nursing scientists to improve rural health outcomes, and improve the health of the communities surrounding Alcorn State - Adams, Claiborne, Franklin, Jefferson, and Wilkinson counties.

Alcorn State University's School of Education and Psychology is one of 55 providers from 28 states and the United Arab Emirates to receive accreditation for their educator preparation programs through the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation. In 2015, Alcorn was the first HBCU in the nation and the only institution of higher learning in Mississippi to be accredited. The School offers undergraduate and graduate degree programs to assist students with their goals of being influential professionals in their fields.

Alcorn recently announced the expansion of its partnership with IBM to launch the first IBM-partnered Cybersecurity Leadership Center at a Mississippi HBCU. Initially, IBM and Alcorn collaborated on the IBM Skills Academy, an educational and outreach program developing cutting-edge technological skills aligned with evolving industry demands and trends. The learning tracks address advanced topics as artificial intelligence, cybersecurity, blockchain, data science, and quantum computing. The grant allows students and faculty to expand the tangible skills they need for today's IT workforce and the jobs of the future.

Delta State University is one of six universities nationwide selected to receive $500,000 from FedEx over the next five years as part of the FedEx Purple Runway Aviation Scholarship program. FedEx Express, a subsidiary of FedEx Corp., created the FedEx Purple Runway Aviation Scholarship program to support aspiring pilots, aircraft maintenance technicians and other aviation specialists. The program provides aviation scholarships intended to help offset climbing educational costs to train the next generation of aviation professionals. The scholarships build on FedEx's Purple Runway project designed to promote aviation careers through collaborations with select colleges and universities-including Delta State-and assist feeder aircraft operators in recruiting and retaining pilots and eventually qualifying them for opportunities at FedEx.

Today's employers are seeking out graduates with backgrounds in both business and computer information systems. Delta State University's Bachelor of Business Administration with a major in Computer Information Systems (CIS) is a well-respected degree nationwide. The program's focus is teaching the use of information systems to gain a competitive advantage in business. Instruction and projects center on applications, infrastructure and business technology. Delta State's program provides the skills needed to succeed in the professional world. Graduates of the CIS program serve as information systems managers of major corporations. Companies like Baxter Healthcare, Viking Range Corporation, INFOWORKS, Techinfo, Inc., Monsanto, Microsoft, Google, International Paper, Saks Fifth Avenue and many others have hired Delta State CIS alumni.

Supply Chain Management: Jackson State University's College of Business established a new supply chain management program this fall. The program's creation is partly due to the issues with the global supply chain exposed during the pandemic and will meet today's workforce demand. With Jackson located in the central part of Mississippi and proximity to the gulf coast, students will have a major advantage when studying distribution and underpinnings of the global supply chain and how the linkage of multiple supply chain functions leads to the delivery of goods and services around the world.

Disaster Preparedness Certification: Jackson State University offers a post-baccalaureate certificate in Disaster Preparedness & Community Resilience Among Vulnerable Populations. The program results from years of multidisciplinary research and collaborative strategic planning between the Department of Psychology and the Department of Civil & Environmental and Industrial Systems & Technology. The community-oriented curriculum will cover disaster preparedness basics, equip students with mitigation and risk communication tools, and effectively measure natural disasters' social and behavioral implications on a community's collective mental and emotional well-being before, during, and after a disaster. With the program being offered online, the certification is accessible to an endless list of professionals.

Public Health: Jackson State University's Department of Health Policy & Management announced the launch of its Bachelor of Science in public health program, providing students with theoretical and practical knowledge suited for aspiring public health practitioners. With the demand for public health practitioners rapidly increasing, faculty experts found it necessary for the program to serve as the foundation for teaching students innovative strategies and interventions necessary for addressing health issues prevalent in society. In addition to receiving theoretical training, students will also receive tangible experience within the field by engaging in real case studies and research alongside supervising faculty.

Numerical Modeling: Jackson State University's College of Science, Engineering, and Technology recently established a multi-year three-pronged partnership with engineering firm Woolpert Inc. The partnership aims to improve and expand current numerical modeling systems in coastal communities, primarily utilized to prepare, respond, and effectively recover from natural disasters. Woolpert will also offer students the opportunity to enroll in a specialized numerical modeling course, which provides students with the fundamentals of natural disaster research and places them in a prime position to create immediate industry impact.

Teacher Education: Jackson State University's College of Education and Human Development (COEHD) welcomed 15 graduate students into their first Mississippi Teacher Residency (MTR) program this fall. The MTR program aims to prepare educators for teaching in geographical critical shortage areas.

In December 2021, JSU received a portion of MDE grant funds to address elementary and special education teacher shortages. The program is supported by the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) Fund. MDE recently expanded the residency program from three to five universities servicing over 20 school districts across the state.

JSU is in partnership with JPS and aims to ensure all Mississippi students have access to licensed, diverse, and effective teachers.

Mississippi State University is continually implementing new and innovative programs to answer the workforce training needs for new businesses and those struggling to find skilled employees. MSU-Meridian's Master of Physician Assistant Studies program is training students in one of the fastest growing professions in the U.S. The only publicly funded curriculum of its kind in the state, the program prepares PAs to practice and promote empathetic, primary care-focused medicine serving Mississippi's culturally diverse population. The demand for PAs is so high that three quarters of students receive multiple job offers upon graduation.

Mississippi State's newest degree--the Bachelor of Science in Data Science-prepares students to be today's much-needed experts that can apply core data science knowledge and skills in a growing number of concentrations like agriculture, psychology and business. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics this year announced the demand for data scientists will grow by 36 percent through 2031, much faster than the average for all occupations. MSU graduates in this field will enter employment with titles such as data wrangler, smart city application developer, information architect, and data analyst in areas such as finance, sports, health, government and defense. Unique to MSU's program is its focus on preparing students for the central role that data plays every day in the success of organizations operating in a digital world.

With K-12 school districts across the state struggling to place certified teachers in their classrooms, MSU-Meridian is addressing this need through its Professional Advancement Network for Teacher Assistants program. Teacher assistants wanting to realize their dream of becoming a licensed teacher can do so by enrolling in one of the three MSU program options offered in face-to-face or remote formats. To accommodate currently employed teacher assistants completing the PANTA program, most can fulfill the required field experience in the district where they are employed.

Mississippi State also has introduced two new dual-degree programs that give students the classroom knowledge-plus the hands-on experience-to enter the competitive job market quickly. Just this fall, MSU introduced the Engineering Leadership Excellence program that combines technical and industrial engineering skills with business expertise, equipping graduates with a Bachelor of Science in Industrial Engineering and a Bachelor of Business Administration. Learning to design and improve systems of all types, job prospects are endless in such fields as manufacturing, transportation and distribution, healthcare and more.

Students choosing the nursing profession now have a new dual-degree route through a Mississippi State partnership with the University of Mississippi Medical Center School of Nursing that allows completion of an MSU degree in interdisciplinary studies alongside a UMMC nursing degree. This program addresses the tremendous national need for nurses is a welcomed source for Bulldog graduates pursuing high-quality employment opportunities. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects 203,200 openings for registered nurses each year through 2031.

Mississippi State University's Division of Agriculture, Forestry, and Veterinary Medicine designs academic programs to prepare students for meaningful careers. To expand access to veterinary professionals in our state, the College of Veterinary Medicine at Mississippi State University recently increased its Doctor of Veterinary Medicine class size from 95 to 112 and the Veterinary Medical Technology program from 30 to 40.

According to the Mississippi Department of Employment Security, the demand for zoologists, wildlife biologists, environmental scientists, and foresters is expected to grow by 5% in the next 10 years. MSU's College of Forest Resources offers degrees in forestry; natural resource and environmental conservation; and wildlife, fisheries, and aquaculture to prepare the future workforce to lead in natural resource conservation. And with a 97% placement among graduates in the College of Forest Resources, students not only leave Mississippi State with a degree but also with a job.

Projections are also promising for medical scientists, urban and regional planners, and agricultural sciences teachers. MSU's College of Agriculture and Life Sciences prepares students to become leaders in their respective fields. The biochemistry degree equips students with the knowledge and experience to enter medical school, including optometry, dental, and pharmacy. The landscape architecture degree provides the skills necessary to manage urban sprawl while protecting natural resources including clean air and water. The Human Development and Family Science degree includes a concentration in Family and Consumer Sciences Teacher Education where students can move from degree to classroom.

The College of Nursing at Mississippi University for Women was founded in 1971 and has produced thousands of graduates who have successfully moved into the nursing workforce and are impacting the profession of nursing in Mississippi, the United States and the world.

The W is committed to creating a pipeline of qualified educators to solve Mississippi's ongoing teacher shortage. Through coursework with a focus on effective teaching strategies, teacher candidates are armed with the tools to fight illiteracy and to bolster motivation and learning outcomes. A focus on the diverse needs of students prepares teacher candidates to reach each child socially, emotionally, and cognitively.

The Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) announced that the Mississippi Valley State University Teacher Education Program is one of 60 providers from 26 states to receive accreditation for their educator preparation programs. The review by the CAEP Accreditation Council resulted in 60 newly accredited EPPs, bringing the total to 423 providers approved under the CAEP Accreditation Standards - rigorous, nationally recognized standards that were developed to ensure excellence in educator preparation programs.

Mississippi Valley State University's Department of Education offers a Bachelor of Science degree in Elementary Education, Secondary Education, and Early Childhood Education. The Early Childhood Education degree is not designed for school-based early childhood education and does not currently lead to licensure. Through the coordination by the Department of Education, the department also oversees the B.S. degree in Biology Education, English Education, Mathematics Education, Vocal Keyboard and Instrumental Music Education, and Social Science Education. These programs, all located in the College of Arts and Sciences, lead to K-12 licensure. Master of Science programs in Special Education and Elementary Education are offered by the Department of Teacher Education. The department also offers a Master of Arts in Teaching, with emphasis in Elementary Education (4-8), Social Sciences, Science/Biology, Math, Music, English, and Physical Education.

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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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