September 18, 2014  

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Southern Miss Offers True South Economic Development Course Sept. 19-22

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In partnership with the Mississippi Development Authority (MDA) and Mississippi Power, the University of Southern Mississippi will host the state’s introductory economic development course, “True South Basic Economic Development Course” Sept. 19-22 on the Hattiesburg campus. 

This year’s course, with a new Monday through Thursday schedule, includes a bus tour to learning sites on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. The new name of the course coincides with the state’s new promotional tag line, “Find Your True South.”

For new economic development practitioners, the course is the first step in becoming a Certified Economic Developer (CEcD). The 2010 Salary Survey of Economic Development Professionals found that economic development professionals who complete the rigorous certification process earn on average $26,100 more than their non-certified colleagues. 

For others, including elected and appointed leaders, the course provides a broad exposure to all the key aspects of community and economic development used to grow jobs and enhance quality of life. 

“This is the course I recommend for mayors, supervisors, councilmen, alderpersons and anyone else that has to make a decision pertaining to economic development,” said Paul Ockmand, chairman of the Lamar County Economic Development District.

“We have four industrial parks in Lamar County, and the course gave me a much better understanding of what investors are looking for and what they want from the state, county and local government,” Ockmand said. “The process can get confusing without a course like this to educate people on what the trends are around the United States as far as economic development is concerned.”

During the four-day program, experts will lead discussions on tourism, workforce development, business retention and expansion, community development, marketing and attraction, real estate development, finance, strategic planning, ethics, entrepreneurial and small business development, and managing economic development organizations. There will also be an opportunity to visit actual economic development success stories in Ocean Springs and Gulfport.

The True South brand draws on Mississippi’s reputation as the most southern state in the nation and the wellspring of Southern culture. The state is also considered the birthplace of the study and practice of economic development with Mississippi’s1930s Balance Agriculture with Industry program (BAWI).

For more information on the True South IEDC Basic Course, online visit http://www.usm.edu/profdev_edoutreach/ECONDEV.html ; or contact Dr. Chad Miller at 601.266.6666 or e-mail chad.r.miller@usm.edu