LONG BEACH - An Alabama
couple with ties to two of that state's major universities has donated
$1.1 million to The University of Southern Mississippi's Workplace
Learning and Performance Center, located on the Gulf Park campus.
Drs. Jack J. and Patti Pulliam Phillips, who received
degrees from the University of Alabama and Auburn University, respectively,
are the donors.
The Chelsea, Ala., residents' gift will create the
Drs. Jack and Patti Phillips Workplace Learning and Performance
Endowment, which will support graduate assistantships, a Guru Series,
professional development at the center, and activities for the WLPC
Dr. Patti Phillips said, "It was the easiest
check I've ever written."
"We hope two things evolve from our gift and
involvement with the WLPC," she continued. "Our workforce
needs a first-class center for public sector accountability, and
we hope to launch a center for accountability and performance improvement,
which will broaden the reach to industry."
The WLPC, which moved to the Gulf Park campus in June,
provides solutions for one of the most critical issues in today's
global marketplace: how to develop a high-knowledge, multi-skilled
workforce for the 21st century. The WLPC offers tools such as measuring
the impact of workforce training and development, assessing workforce
needs and mapping strategies for workforce planning, and using competency
models to build and manage a workforce. The WLPC has received more
than $4 million in support of workforce development research initiatives
from agencies such as the U. S. Department of Labor, NASA, the Mississippi
Development Authority, and IHL. The WLPC hosts conferences, professional
development workshops, and certificate programs that attract a national
audience. As part of the Department of Economic and Workforce Development
at Southern Miss, the WLPC is an example of how education, employers,
and economic development work together to provide "new economy"
"We are thrilled that Jack and Patti thought
so much of our program to show their support through such a generous
financial contribution that builds a legacy for the work they have
done," said Dr. Cyndi Gaudet, director of the WPLC.
Dr. Patti Phillips received a doctorate in international
development from Southern Miss in 2003. She and her husband founded
the Return on Investment (ROI) Institute in 2003. The institute
represents more than 50 years of experience in measurement and evaluation
of training, human resources, technology and quality programs and
Together with their team and partners, they serve
private and public sector organizations in more than 40 countries
by implementing accountability systems and processes through education,
consulting, coaching and continuing research and publications. Patti
Phillips is also chair and CEO of The Chelsea Group Inc., a research
and consulting firm specializing in the evaluation of training and
performance improvement programs in public sector organizations.
Southern Miss is a domestic partner with the ROI Institute.
Patti Phillips shared what she believes to be the benefit of partnering
with Southern Miss. "We're already in 41 countries and hundreds
of organizations, but we see a tremendous opportunity in partnering
our expertise with Southern Miss' academic excellence and vision
of growth. Together, not only can we make some great things happen
in workforce development and economic development, but we can also
have fun doing it," she said.
Gaudet said the WLPC's success depends on its
capacity to build and nurture stronger partnerships between technology
development and economic and workforce development to build new
economy skills. "Both Jack and Patti know that the ability
to achieve these goals relies on a solid commitment to the program,
which they have demonstrated through their gracious gift to the
Workplace Learning and Performance Center," she said.