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12/19/2017 - Jackson, Miss.

By Dr. Glenn Boyce
Commissioner of Higher Education

The Mississippi Development Authority, the economic and community development agency for the state, has identified eight target industries that are an excellent fit for Mississippi's assets, human and natural resources, and business climate. These are the industries on which to focus our efforts to recruit, retain and grow.

The eight industries include advanced manufacturing; aerospace; agribusiness; automotive; forestry and energy; healthcare; shipbuilding; and tourism and film. Mississippi Public Universities support these eight industries in numerous ways.

The Haley Barbour Center for Manufacturing Excellence at the University of Mississippi provides gives students the practical experiences, fundamental knowledge, and creative skill sets needed to lead the world of modern manufacturing. As MDA recruits advanced manufacturing operations to our states, our graduates will be ready to lead them.

Boeing selected The University of Southern Mississippi and Mississippi State University to lead research and development on composites. Southern Miss is working to accelerate the development of the next generation of composite material systems, including polymers and polymer matrix composites. Mississippi State is working on Boeing's stitched resin infused technology efforts.

While we all celebrate when large manufacturing operations announce decisions to locate within our state, we must also remember that small farming operations contribute a great deal to our economy, not to mention our food, clothing and numerous other products. The Socially Disadvantaged Farmers and Ranchers Policy Research Center at Alcorn State University, a land-grant institution, makes policy recommendations to improve the success of socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers. By integrating research, stakeholder engagement, and outreach, the Center maintains an ongoing dialogue with Mississippi's small farmers and continually shares findings with them to help their crops, and profits, grow.

The University of Mississippi Field Station supports the forestry and energy sector with a 740-acre facility includes wetlands, grasslands and closed-canopy forests. The forested stands include mixtures of shortleaf pine and oaks with loblolly pine, sweetgum, red maple, winged elms and black gum. More than 200 experimental ponds provide opportunities for controlled experiments and large-scale projects.

Jackson State University and the University of Mississippi are two members of a consortium of four universities recently awarded a National Science Foundation EPSCoR Track II grant. Jackson State serves as the lead institution for the four-year project, along with Ole Miss, the University of Delaware and the University of Wyoming. The project seeks novel and cost-effective approaches to mitigate climate change, improve energy efficiency and reduce pollutants in water and air.

The University of Mississippi Medical Center is the state's only academic medical center, only Level I trauma center, its only children's hospital and the state's only organ and bone marrow transplant programs. UMMC encompasses seven health sciences schools including medicine, nursing, health related professions, dentistry, graduate studies, population health, and the clinical component of the UM School of Pharmacy based in Oxford.

In addition to UMMC, Mississippi Public Universities offer numerous nursing and health-related programs. In 2017, there were 2,849 healthcare graduates, including nurses.

The University of Southern Mississippi's Bachelor of Science in Ocean Engineering is the only ocean engineering degree in the state and one of only 10 programs in the nation.

Students in the Delta Music Institute at Delta State University can participate in a student exchange program with the GRAMMY Museum Mississippi, located on the university's campus in Cleveland. The program allows students to earn college credit and work with peers at colleges and universities near Los Angeles.

GRAMMY Museum Mississippi showcases Mississippi's role in shaping American music through interactive displays and special exhibits. The 20,000-square foot facility opened last year.

These are just a few examples of the centers, institutes, and programs at our universities that support the work of our state to attract business and industry, brings jobs to Mississippians and grow our economy.

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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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