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Sponsored by The Trent Lott National Center for Excellence in Economic Development and Entrepreneurship
In This Issue
Upcoming Events
Economic Development and Entrepreneurship Spring Lecture Series February 21, 28, and March 7. See article for more information. 
Waterborne Symposium February 24-28, 2014 
Logistics, Trade, and Transportation Symposium February 26-27, 2014 Learn More
ITTS "Freight in the Southeast 2014" 
March 4-6  Learn More
SEDA Alumni Baseball Tailgate Saturday, April 19th vs. Louisiana Tech @ the Roost. Game starts at 2:00 pm
True South IEDC Basic Economic Development Course September 15-18, 2014. Learn More
Job Openings

REMI is hiring an Associate Economic Consultant, Amherst, MA, contact Mitcheline Mekal...View Position
 
Policy and Research Project Manager, Baton Rouge Area Chamber...View Position
 
Assistant Director, Office of Economic Development, Sugar Land, TX...Deadline to apply February 21, 2014...View Position

Economic Development Director, Hancock County Port and Harbor Commission...View Position
 
Transportation Planner II, North Central Texas Council of Governments, Arlington, TX...View Position
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February 17, 2014
Forum to Discuss the Social and Environmental Impact of Fracking
The spring 2014 Lecture Series Economic Development and Entrepreneurship in Mississippi's Energy Sector will be starting off on February 21, 2014 with a talk by Dr. Matt Fry of the University of North Texas on the social and environmental challenges faced in Texas from the energy boom.  He will discuss gas drilling in Texas and specifically how gas drilling is regulated, how close can gas wells be to homes, and how gas drilling affects people and communities. His research will be particularly insightful for citizens, homeowners, and policy makers in Southwest Mississippi where they are expected to experience a similar energy boom to Texas once the Tuscaloosa Marine Shale play completely comes on-line.

Dr. Fry has published numerous articles on the energy sector in journals such as Energy Policy and Environmental Science & Technology.  He was recently awarded a National Science Foundation (NSF) grant to study municipal setback policies for gas wells and residences.  The event will begin at 11:30am on February 21, 2014 at the Thad Cochran Center Ballroom on the USM Hattiesburg campus.  The event is free, but registration is required.

The February 28th forum will feature a discussion on Mississippi oil and gas policy by Patrick Sullivan of the Mississippi Energy Institute. The March 7th forum will discuss economic development and entrepreneurial opportunities of the Tuscaloosa Marine Shale Play in Southwest Mississippi by Charlotte Batson of Batson & Company Energy Consultants and CEO of Tuscaloosa Energy Services. 
A Look at Minimum Wage Jobs in Mississippi

 Even though it is unlikely to pass, the U.S. Congress is discussing increasing the minimum wage from $7.25 to $10.10 in response to concerns of some about growing income inequality. This would increase the full-time minimum wage annual earnings from $15,080 to $21,008. Economists are divided on whether the minimum wages provides a boost to low-wage workers or costs jobs. Some states have their own minimum wage that is higher than national standards, but Mississippi does not have its own minimum wage standard. 

 

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), Mississippi, with 21,000 minimum wage workers, along with Texas and Georgia, is one of the states with the highest proportions (all between 8 and 10 percent)  of hourly-paid workers earning at or below the Federal minimum wage. Many workers including student trainees and those receiving tips are exempt from minimum wage requirement. 

 

Looking at EMSI 2013 data, we see that probably exempt restaurant workers make up the majority of the 167,000 Mississippians that fall below the $10.10 per hour level. Retail, hospitality, and services (e.g. janitors, child care) make up the majority of the other industries that would be directly impacted.    

Grant Opportunity Watch
In December 2013, the Obama Administration launched a national competition to designate up to 12 communities as "manufacturing communities" in the U.S. The Investing in Manufacturing Communities Partnership (IMCP) will help accelerate the resurgence of manufacturing in regions across the country. The IMCP will reward communities that best highlight their strengths and demonstrate they can combine their efforts around workforce training, infrastructure, and research centers to implement an economic development plan that will attract, retain and expand manufacturing investment.

The deadline to apply to be designated as a manufacturing community is March 14, 2014. For more information click here
Record Crowd Attended MEDC's Winter Conference
Mississippi Economic Development Council hosted its 2014 Winter Conference last week with a record crowd in attendance.  The conference agenda consisted of members from the Site Selectors Guild who shared information about how to ensure Mississippi is competitive when attracting companies to the state.  USM hosted two booths sponsored by the Department of Economic Development and the MS Polymer Institute in which graduate students, faculty and staff shared information about university offerings.  Among the topics discussed, the consultants emphasized the important role research universities play in economic development.
 
"We were very pleased that our graduate students attended, and we were able to hear from highly respected site selectors and consultants," stated Dr. Chad Miller. "It was good to hear feedback from the students that they appreciate more, after hearing the consultants, why we emphasize responding to RFIs so much with the new curriculum. We want to congratulate Executive Director, Mary Martha Henson, and the MEDC planning committee on an outstanding conference."
 
Southern Miss Economic Development | tasha.may@usm.edu | 118 College Drive #5191
Hattiesburg, MS 39401-0001

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