Center Targets Jobs

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While it was initially created to help bring the Nissan plant to Mississippi, the goal of the Center for Advanced Vehicular Systems is now creating jobs across the state.

This extension of MSU is located in Canton, Miss., home of the Nissan plant, and headed by Dr. Dean Norman, who briefed the business community about what the center hopes to accomplish.

"We are focused on the automotive industry, of course, but we're focused on any manufacturing in Mississippi," said Norman.

He outlined issues relating to economic development including environmental quality, transportation, shared research and development and other positive factors. But, he said, the number one issue is still jobs.

"Better jobs. Higher paying jobs, and if we can help bring that to Mississippi through new industry or enhancing other industry that we have now, manufacturing especially, then we feel we'll be successful and that's our major goal," Norman said.

The center does research to help the state's businesses become more efficient. But in the end, Dr. Norman says, it all gets back to education.

"I think that if you look to quality jobs and quality education, that that leads to quality of life and I firmly believe that," said Norman. "And I think you've got to have for the kind of jobs we're talking about in the 21st century, you've got to have quality education whether it's K through 12, the community college or the Institutes of Higher Learning."

Norman said there are many exciting projects around the state to which he believes his organization's efforts are bringing added value.