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April 18, 2016
Training Course Helps Hospitality Industry Better Attract Visitors
By Al Showers, WLOX Reporter
Workers on the front lines of the hospitality industry will be molded into Coast Champs after going through a special training course offered by leaders at Visit Mississippi Gulf Coast.

The course will help make sure local tourism leaders are equipped with the tools needed to assist travelers visiting the area. Coast Champions hope these courses will translate into more tourism dollars being spent here. (Visit MS Gulf Coast commissioned assistance from The University of Southern Mississippi to help develop the Coast Champions program.)

"Our goal is to help you all encourage people to come to the coast, spend one more night on the coast, and to promote tourism along the Gulf Coast," said one tourism guest speaker.

"Whenever we have the trainees come in, we will be sure to talk to them about the visitor profile, the economic development, the economic impact," said another tourism leader. "So they are going to get a lot of exposure to not just the things to do in the area, but we are really going to focus on what is the visitor really looking for."

The way he said to do that is to spend a little extra time with visitors to find out where their interests are. That, he says, will let the hospitality worker know where to send the tourists. 

"We've got a lot of opportunities to share information with the traveler and, like we said, they don't see boundaries, they see experiences," explained Renee Areng, executive director of Visit Mississippi's Gulf Coast. "So we want to make sure they get out and see as much as possible." View Full Article.

Copyright 2016 WLOX. All rights reserved.
Millennials in the Workplace
By Tiffany Aultman
Millennials, the generation that will make up 75% of America's population by 2020 and are currently graduating from colleges and entering the workforce. Millennials are becoming the most influential population in the market and are bringing with them a whole new perception of how the relationships between employers and employees should be structured. Over a number of articles reviewed, in regards to the focus of Millennials in the workforce, a similar pattern was shown amongst this generation.

1) Millennials want to grow and advance (quickly) in the workforce.  The average tenure for a millennial employee is 2-3 years.  Millennials are more likely to change jobs if they believe they are not receiving any benefit or growth from the company, and they want to be constantly working on something and kept busy.  
2) Millennials want a mentor, a coach, not a boss.  The number one likely reason that a millennial will leave their job will be because of their boss and not feeling the sense of support and value by the leadership in the office. 
3) Millennials do not want to waste time on the small things, nor do they want busy work.  Millennials want to be kept busy, but they want to be kept busy by performing in a meaningful way that can add a significant impact to a project, instead of just punching a whole in the time clock to reach 40 hours a week.  
4) Millennials want things quick and fast. If a millennial employee is needing a reimbursement check from their employer, they need it in a short period of time instead of having to wait a week or longer, due to the paperwork that has to be filed and the amount of signatures it may take to get the reimbursement approved.  It should not be an issue to lose a millennial employee due to an outdated expense reporting policy.  

While keeping these four things in mind, it is important to remember that "Millennials no longer work for you; they work with you." However, do not get too comfortable with the Millennial generation just yet, the iGen generation is up and coming.

Tiffany Aultman is a graduate assistant in the Master of Science Economic Development Program. She has accepted an internship with the Hancock County Port and Harbor Commission and will graduate in August 2016.
Student Economic Development Association Spends the Day in Madison County
By Sean Moody

The Madison County Economic Development Authority invited The University of Southern Mississippi's Student Economic Development Association to tour some of Madison County's most noteworthy industrial, educational, and commercial assets last week. The group arrived at the Center for Advanced Vehicular Systems Extension in Canton, MS to begin the day. After meeting with the CAVS Director, Dr. Clay Walden, and Transportation and Financial Analyst, Steve Puryear, for an overview of the facility, the group headed to Livingston, MS for an exquisite lunch experience at The Gathering. After lunch and shopping at the Livingston Mercantile, the students headed over to tour the Nissan Canton Manufacturing and Assembly Plant. The group then visited the Madison County Megasite and concluded the trip at the Madison County Bio-Medical Business Collaboratory. The student group had an exceptional time on the trip and would like to give a special thanks to Madison County Business League & Foundation Executive Director, Jan Collins, MCEDA Executive Director, Tim Coursey, MCEDA Business Development Manager, Danielle Winningham, CAVS Extension's Analyst, Steve Puryear and Global Training Institute Owner/President, Dr. Chris Powe, for making this all possible.

Sean Moody is a graduate assistant in the Master of Science Economic Development program and serves as the Student Economic Development Association's public relations officer.  Sean will graduate from the program in August 2016.
Southern Miss Economic Development | [email protected] | 118 College Drive #5191
Hattiesburg, MS 39401-0001