DeSoto Center workforce, career-tech center moves forward

Thursday, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina M. Raimondo announced the Department’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) American Rescue Plan Act Economic Adjustment Assistance program award. 

Northwest Mississippi Community College was awarded $7 million toward the construction of a new 42,000 square foot multi-purpose workforce and career technology education center located on the DeSoto Center campus in Southaven.

The center will house instructional programs focused on workforce training and health sciences programs. Also, the new training facility will offer a standardized regional testing center and provide additional flexible space for instruction and training of students.

“Enriching our communities and furthering training opportunities in our region is the pinnacle of our institutional success,” said Dr. Michael Heindl, president of Northwest. “This facility will be game-changing for our institution and students.” 

Collectively, the total project cost will be nearly $13 million. The project was funded by the support of the Economic Development Administration -$7 million, the State of Mississippi – $3 million, the DeSoto County Board of Supervisors -$1 million, and over $1.9 million of institutional funds.

Michael Lee, President of the DeSoto County Board of Supervisors, expressed, “this is a great opportunity for our county. The new facility will increase needed workforce training opportunities and extend the education pipeline at a critical time when an educated workforce is so desperately needed.”

Darren Musselwhite, Mayor of Southaven, stated, “Dr. Heindl and his team are constantly seeking ways to provide educational services and programs that lead to high-skill, high-wage careers for our community. The Board of Aldermen and I are excited about this important addition to the Northwest DeSoto Center Campus in Southaven.”

The new center will offer courses focused on healthcare training, logistics technology, and advanced manufacturing. The education opportunities, career services, and articulated partnership with the University of Mississippi 2+2 Program housed at the campus has the ability to impact further and transform student lives.  

 In 2018, Northwest adopted the strategic plan, “Achieving Success,” which focuses on four commitments: instructional success, institutional success, personal success, and community success. The proposed project will meet this 4-tiered commitment and aid our institution, the workforce, community, economy, and most importantly, students in Northwest’s eleven-county services area.

“On behalf of the DeSoto County Economic Development Council, the DeSoto County Board of Supervisors, and the City of Southaven, we are thrilled that plans set out years ago will now come to fruition, providing a much-needed one-stop-shop for both training and employment for our business, healthcare, and industrial sectors. We are grateful to Northwest Mississippi Community College’s vision, EDA, and our congressional delegation for their generous support, stated Jim Flanagan, President/CEO, DeSoto County Economic Development Council.  

This project is funded under EDA’s American Rescue Plan Economic Adjustment Assistance program, making $500 million in Economic Adjustment Assistance grants available to American communities. The Economic Adjustment Assistance program is EDA’s most flexible program, and grants made under this program will help hundreds of communities across the nation plan, build, innovate, and put people back to work through construction or non-construction projects designed to meet local needs.

Photo: Artist rendering of a new 42,000 square foot multi-purpose workforce and career technology education center located on the DeSoto Center campus in Southaven. (NWCC photo)

Bob Bakken

Bob Bakken is the most recognized and most trusted name in DeSoto County news and sports reporting, as readers continue to express their appreciation for his accuracy and fairness in the stories he writes. Bob provides content for DeSoto County News and occasionally is heard on the OB Pod podcast talking about area happenings. A former newspaper editor and writer, his award-winning background also includes television news producing, sports media relations, and radio broadcasting.

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