Desoto County News

Workforce Invest Grant awarded to DeSoto County EDC

Photo: DeSoto County Career Tech Center West in Horn Lake. (Bob Bakken/

The DeSoto County Economic Development Council announced that it was awarded a Workforce Invest Grant by the Tennessee Valley  Authority (TVA) to support collaborative efforts in training and education.  

“With the awarding of this TVA Workforce Invest Grant, we look forward to growing our  Connect DeSoto program and expanding the number of students that are able to benefit  from the opportunity of a hands-on, real-world experience,” said Jim Flanagan,  President/CEO of the DeSoto County Economic Development Council. 

In response to the increasing demand for a trained workforce by business and industry, the  Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), along with third-party consultant VisionFirst Advisors, developed an innovative initiative, known as Workforce Invest, in 2022. The goal of the  program is to address critical workforce development needs. 

The funds will allow the DeSoto County Economic Development Council to continue to  expand the Connect DeSoto – High School Workforce Training Program. This program is an  innovative high school internship program designed to allow rising juniors and seniors  from DeSoto County schools to be awarded a career path scholarship to complete a 100- hour workforce training experience in the career path or degree program they plan to  pursue upon graduation. Students are selected by our Career Coaches in the eight high  schools in DeSoto County. 

Kristie Davis, CFO, DMC Power, Inc. states, “This program is an exciting way to create a  skilled labor workforce which enriches the community and allows manufacturing  businesses to thrive in the area. This program will give students the opportunity to see  what types of jobs are located right here in their backyard.” 

The project is a partnership among a host of local community leaders including DeSoto  County Schools, Three Rivers Planning and Development District, AccelerateMS, Northwest  Mississippi Community College, and our business and industry community. 

The Tennessee Valley is a region abounding in geographic and economic opportunity.  Workforce Invest, a first-of-its-kind program, leverages funds to develop a highly trained  and qualified workforce to meet current and future market demands.  

“TVA Economic Development is committed to our communities. Workforce Invest allows us  to invest in programs that address the specific workforce and education needs at a local 

level. Each project funded provides needed training to residents while also filling the needs  of industry. We are proud to support our local economic development partners,” said John  Bradley, Senior Vice President of Economic Development for TVA.  

“Providing meaningful workforce training is a cornerstone issue of our national economy.  TVA’s insight to develop the program will provide a multitude of opportunities not just for  the participants but for entire communities. VisionFirst is thrilled to serve as the  programmatic coordinator for Workforce Invest,” said Gray Swoope, President & CEO of  VisionFirst Advisors. 

Over the last two years, TVA has awarded Workforce Invest grants to more than 30  communities totaling more than $2 million. 

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