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U.S. Department of Commerce invests to support growth of aviation and aerospace workforce in Mississippi

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U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross has announced that the Department’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) is awarding a $2 million grant to Pearl River Community College of Poplarville, Mississippi, to fund construction of a new Aviation and Aerospace Workforce Academy at the Stennis International Airport. The grant, to be matched with more than $3.9 million in state and local investment, is expected to help create 469 jobs, retain 550 jobs, and generate $5 million in private investment.

“Through efforts like the American Workforce Policy Advisory Board and the National Council for the American Worker, the Trump Administration is committed to creating opportunities for technical training and manufacturing as a way to provide good jobs for Americans,” said Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross. “Pearl River and other community colleges are essential partners for United States government and businesses.”

“Thank you to Secretary Ross and the Trump Administration for investing in Mississippi to build the Aviation and Aerospace Workforce Academy,” said Governor Phil Bryant. “This grant will continue to promote the importance of community colleges and technical training programs in our state.”

“Workforce training and development have become a critical part of sustaining Mississippi’s leadership in the aviation and aerospace industries,” said Senator Wicker. “I appreciate President Trump and the Department of Commerce for making technical training a priority across our country. The students trained at this new facility at Stennis will graduate with the skills they need to be successful and contribute to our state’s economic growth.”

“This Aviation and Aerospace Workforce Academy will be an exciting and concrete example of what can be accomplished through a solid vision and strong public-private partnerships,” said Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith.  “The EDA award complements local, state, and private investments that support the jobs in the growing aerospace industry in Mississippi.”

“Pearl River Community College is committed to strengthening and training Mississippi’s workforce and this grant will only further that support to our state,” said Rep. Steven Palazzo.  “Many advancements in aerospace have come from or through Mississippi and I look forward to this grant continuing that progress.”

The new Aviation and Aerospace Workforce Academy at the Stennis International Airport will be a modern facility providing educational opportunities in academic, career technical, and workforce programs. This project was made possible by the regional planning efforts led by the Southern Mississippi Planning and Development District.  EDA funds the Southern Mississippi Planning and Development District to bring together the public and private sectors to create an economic development roadmap to strengthen the regional economy, support private capital investment, and create jobs.

This project is funded under the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018 (PL 115-123) (PDF), in which Congress appropriated to EDA $600 million in additional Economic Adjustment Assistance (EAA) Program (PDF) funds for disaster relief and recovery as a result of Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria, wildfires, and other calendar year 2017 natural disasters under the Stafford Act.

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