Centrally located in the heart of an excellent transportation nexus, Mississippi County presents a great opportunity for companies interested in industrial expansion and the rapid delivery of goods or products. As the largest steel-producing county in the United States and the heart of a growing automotive supply parts network, the county offers a motivated workforce backed by state-of-the-art training facilities and institutions, excellent transportation options, a highly supportive business environment, and an aggressive approach to growth that includes a generous incentive plan. Also, Mississippi County possesses a skilled and dedicated labor force and the ability to attract laborers from other regions. Employers can select from applicants likely to have expertise as electricians, maintenance professionals, assembly workers, forklift operators, payroll managers, machine-maintenance mechanics and plant supervisors and managers.
As a unique labor-force aid, the region also offers customized training and consulting to help businesses keep pace with changes in technology and meet their workforce needs. The Solutions Group, a professional support division of Arkansas Northeastern College, provides an innovative model that brings the best features of a private consulting and training firm together with coursework recognition and the portability of an accredited institution of higher education. Its syllabus offers the latest in industrial, management and computer-technologies training programs that are both convenient and cost-effective. Training programs are customer-driven, with sessions operating on the customer’s schedule and providing services relevant to specific customer needs. With a highly specialized staff exclusively devoted to this program, the group also coordinates pre-employment training activities with the state of Arkansas through the Arkansas Department of Economic Development.
Creation of Wealth
In 2002, the citizens of Mississippi County chose to make a hard decision that they felt would increase the chances for the economic success of our community. We needed to make our county more competitive with more populated, wealthier areas that competed with us for industry and jobs. The citizens voted to tax themselves and additional 1/2 cent to create a fund that would be dedicated to economic development through the provision of incentives to current industry to expand and potential industries to locate in the area. Not only could we make direct offers to existing industry to grow and potential industry to locate here, but we could also use our monies to match state and federal funds in order to purchase equipment, make infrastructure improvements, and support building costs in return for that industry's creation of jobs at an average wage attractive to workers.
This plan met with almost immediate success improving our rate of business expansion or new industry location from once every four or five years to more than one per year. This resulted in nine new industries, the expansion of ten more, and the creation of close to 3,000 new full time high paying jobs. Northeastern Arkansas College, the industries and the county teamed up to establish training to prepare students to enter these new industries. This collaboration allowed the industry to use industrial input to design the curriculum. When is comes to economic development, Mississippi County has become an example for other counties in Arkansas.
Mississippi County has able to broaden the job base through helping a wide variety of industries locate in our communities from aviation to utility providers. Not only did the job base begin to diversity but women saw a new field of work to enter and begin enrolling in courses to prepare them for work. Soon Mississippi County will no longer be reliant on a single industrial type for economic sustainability. We will have a diversity of industries providing good jobs for our youth to move into, rather than having a county to move out of.
Mississippi County Economic Development
4701 Memorial Dr.
PO Box 166
Blytheville, AR 72316-0166
Phone: (870) 532-6084
Fax: (870) 532-2146