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Released September 23, 2003

SOUTHERN MISS CENTER FOR COMMUNITY AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT
PLAYING KEY ROLE IN JOB CREATION

HATTIESBURG-Research conducted by the University of Southern Mississippi's Center for Community and Economic Development (CCED) recently played an integral role in bringing a new major employer to the Town of Leakesville.

Leakesville is the county seat of Greene County, and has a population of approximately 1,200. The town will soon be home to a new Value Line Industries furniture manufacturing facility thanks to a team recruitment effort in which the CCED participated.

The CCED's role in helping bring Arkansas-based Value Line Industries to this small town on the edge of the Hattiesburg trade area was providing employment and tax revenue projections.

CCED Director Mark Goodman said that showing local and state officials the potential impact of this new employer helped them in their efforts to recruit Value Line to the area.

"We were able to put something together that showed them how many jobs would be created, and that in turn allowed them to decide on the benefits and incentives they could offer Value Line Industries to move to Leakesville. The purpose here was to show the worth of the company to the area."

The CCED study projected that Value Line Industries will create approximately 125 jobs directly, and up to another 110 jobs indirectly, through its impact on the Leakesville area and surrounding communities.

CCED representatives worked with local and state economic development officials in making presentations to the company as it was being courted.

Goodman said when Southern Miss is involved in a project like this, the support services the university makes available are always appealing to the business in question.

"It comforts them when the university is behind it, because we offer so many resources," Goodman said. "Especially since Southern Miss tends to place as much focus as it does on economic development."

Another Southern Miss resource, the Lean Enterprise Center (LEC), is also played a role in the Value Line recruitment. Located on Southern Miss' Gulf Park campus, the LEC specializes in Lean Manufacturing, which is sometimes referred to as the Toyota Production System.

This system is an operations management strategy that strives to eliminate waste throughout the production stream, thus reducing cost and overhead.

For the CCED, the recent activities in Leakesville are part of a continuing focus on providing decision-making support to economic development entities.

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April 20, 2004 4:09 PM

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