Five counties to participate in Aspire Mississippi 2024

Jackson, Miss. (March 5, 2024) – The Mississippi Development Authority, in partnership with Mississippi State University’s Stennis Institute, has launched the 2024 cohort of Aspire Mississippi, a statewide program designed to provide skills, knowledge and training to participating communities.

Building on the success of Aspire Mississippi classes that have been held since the program’s inception in 2016, teams from Copiah, Franklin, Greene, Sunflower and Tippah counties, each led by their respective local economic development organizations, engage in a team-based development program designed to support local leaders with their efforts to maintain vital projects that will inspire economic and community development.

“Aspire Mississippi is a powerful tool that brings local communities together with the technical expertise and support they need to identify, empower and maintain sustainable community and economic development projects. Each new class builds on the success of the last, providing opportunities and resources these teams can leverage for future success,” said Mississippi Development Authority Executive Director Bill Cork. “MDA is proud to collaborate with Aspire’s 2024 participants as they work to meet their goals in the year ahead.”

The 2023 cohort included five teams representing Amite-Wilkinson, Bolivar, Hinds, Pearl River and Union counties. Each new cohort of Aspire is designed to help four to six Mississippi communities address specific needs related to economic success in their region. MDA works with participating counties in a collaborative process designed to enhance local alignment with MDA’s stated statewide objectives. Through the technical expertise offered by MSU’s Stennis Institute, including educational and training opportunities, local teams will identify and drive sustainable projects forward to positively improve long-term economic development efforts.

Each of the five teams participate in specific milestone events to discuss challenges, foster cooperation and knowledge sharing and celebrate achievements throughout the year. The keystone event is the Community, Economic and Workforce Development Symposium in Jackson, which brings together all participants for two days of presentations and networking with leaders of MDA, statewide electric providers and others. Individual teams also can engage with coaches during site visits, providing hands-on assistance and training.

The 2024 Aspire Mississippi program will culminate with a “results and learning” celebration where each team will issue project reports and celebrate benchmarks and milestones achieved during the program.

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