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November 29, 2016
USM Representatives Visit Army Corp of Engineers Reseach and Development Center
By: Anna Kate Baygents, Graduate Assistant
A delegation of faculty and graduate students visited the US Army Corps Engineer Research and Development Center (ERDC) in Vicksburg, MS where the group toured several different laboratories, including the Coastal and Hydraulics, Geotechnical and Structures, and High Performance Computing laboratories. The visit included an information exchange regarding potential joint partnerships focused on research and technology innovations being conducted and created at ERDC and potential collaborations involving technology commercialization. 
 
The ERDC visit is part of a broader initiative which began in August of 2016 when the University of Southern Mississippi received a grant from the Department of Defense Office of Economic Adjustment to help diversify defense-dependent communities. Along with the port and tourism, ERDC is a key economic development asset for the Vicksburg community supporting over 2,000 highly paid professional jobs with an annual payroll of over $100 million. The visit opened dialogue between ERDC and USM leadership to identify joint partnership opportunities that will encourage a greater amount of technology and innovation being transitioned into commercial applications.
 
Pictured: Anna Kate Baygents and Katie Hogan experiencing 3D modeling software at the ERDC High Performance Computer Lab.
Vicksburg/Warren County
By Katherine Hogan, Graduate Assistant
Representative from USM presented findings of a community analysis of Warren County for the Vicksburg-Warren County Chamber of Commerce. The analysis included findings on demographics, workforce, retail and trade, industries, and target markets for Warren County, with particular emphasis placed on the impact of the U.S. Engineering Research and a Development Center. Located in Vicksburg, ERDC has a major economic impact on Warren County's economy as found in the collection of data for the community analysis. It's workforce of more than 2,000 employees consists of highly technical skills of over 1,000 scientist and engineers, Vicksburg has one of the highest rates of scientists, engineers, and PhDs per capita in the United States. ERDC also brings in millions of dollars in defense spending to the region. Because of its technology and skilled workforce, ERDC is a major asset not only to Warren County's economy, but also to the state of Mississippi.
Workforce Analysis Conducted for Jones County Junior Collage
By: Jeffrey George, Graduate Assistant
Jones County Junior College (JCJC) recently utilized the services of the Trent Lott National Center to perform a regional economic and workforce analysis of the eight-county region they directly serve. In order to better understand the population within the 8-county region, data was collected from the U.S Census Bureau, County Health Rankings, and the Mississippi Department of Education. High school enrollment data was used to determine potential opportunities for increased recruitment and educational attainment data for each county identified areas that have a significant need for more citizens to be educated. The data collected also helped determine trends in population factors like median household income, number of single-parent households, and teen pregnancy rates, which were compared to the graduation rates in each school district over the past five years.

The analysis also evaluated the occupation and industry outlook for the eight-county region in order to determine potential opportunities for the community college to better meet the needs of industries within the region. The degree program completions from JCJC were analyzed to determine which areas of study would experience greater job growth over the next five years. These programs also sorted by jobs with the highest median hourly earnings so that programs could be identified that could potentially provide graduates with high paying jobs upon completion. Finally, data from the Mississippi Department of Transportation was used to determine the average daily traffic count on roads directly adjacent and nearby the main campus of JCJC and the four county centers that serve their region.
USM and Gulf Coast Alliance host Aerospace Industries Association Product Support Committee Meeting    
By: Stuart Hinton, Graduate Assistant
In November, the University of Southern Mississippi and Mississippi Gulf Coast Alliance co-hosted a working group meeting for Aerospace Industries Association (AIA) Product Support Committee. Representatives from the Port of Gulfport, Mississippi National Guard, Mississippi Development Authority, Combat Readiness Training Center and other state agencies made a compelling argument regarding south Mississippi being an ideal location for staging, storing, handling, distributing, and maintaining foreign military sales-an area of significant importance for AIA Product Support.  

Jonathan Daniels, CEO of Port of Gulfport, presented the port's capabilities in close proximity to military installations, its recent strategic port designation, and potential opportunities for business in Mississippi. Dr. Steve Miller, Vice President of The University of Southern Mississippi's Gulf Park campus, discussed Southern Miss assets and capabilities for defense research and advanced workforce training in south Mississippi. Representatives from Camp Shelby Joint Forces Training Center, the Gulfport Combat Readiness Training Center, and 1108th Theater Aviation Sustainment Maintenance Group discussed their respective military installations and the National Guard implications for defense capabilities in south Mississippi. Representatives from the Mississippi Development Authority discussed state incentives. The second day included a tour of the Port of Gulfport. AIA members included representatives from Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Raytheon, and the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA).
 
Pictured: Joe Farris, DLA Business Development Director for Distribution, shared perspectives with AIA members.
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