Waller Talks Economic Development in Mississippi

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While there have been many economic challenges in recent years, experts say there has also been plenty of growth.

Mississippi is in a position of progress. That is according to Scott Waller with the Mississippi Economic Council. Waller says the magnolia state is capable of being a leader among other southern states because of events that have taken place in the past decade, specifically the Advantage Mississippi program.

"It led to Nissan choosing Mississippi," Waller points out. "And in doing so, they chose to build the largest plant ever built from the ground up. That would at the time, produce five vehicles. Today, it is up to seven vehicles and next year, it will go to eight when they add the Murano. It really kick started that progress."

Waller says Mississippi is fortunate that its economy is built on a strong base. In fact, he says the state remains number one in ship building. There is also the Stennis Space Center.

"The old saying still stands true, you do not get into space without going through Mississippi," Waller says. "Every one of their spacecrafts' engines are tested right there at NASA. But today, there are over 5,000 public and private jobs, high tech type jobs that are very important to the state's economy."

Community colleges have assisted greatly in helping Mississippi move forward, according to Waller. That's by placing more of an emphasis on workforce development. The path to the future now is based around a program known as Blueprint Mississippi. It looks at how Mississippi compares to surrounding states when it comes to economic development. Waller says lawmakers and leaders from both parties have been supportive.

"Throughout this whole process, they have never lost focus on the importance of economic development," he adds. "And on the local level, that has to continue to be the case."

For more on Blueprint Mississippi and other economic projects in the state of Mississippi, you can visit www.msmec.com.