Joint Labor Department, Delta Regional Authority, Appalachian Regional Commission Program Will Benefit 14 Mississippi Counties 

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.) today announced $4.1 million in U.S. Department of Labor grants to support three workforce development projects in rural Mississippi. 

The grants, which will support infrastructure upgrades to strengthen workforce development and job readiness programs, are going to Panola County, Hinds Community College, and the Base Camp Coding Academy in Water Valley.

“These grants will allow workforce development projects in Mississippi to ramp up their efforts to expand opportunities for individuals and create a work-ready workforce.  Industry has a vested interest in our workforce, and these grant awards will equip rural communities with the tools necessary to train skilled, qualified workers,” said Hyde-Smith, who visited students at Base Camp Coding Academy earlier this month.

“I am thrilled that Congress is placing more emphasis on ensuring rural communities aren’t overlooked when it comes to job development and economic growth,” she said.    

The grants derive from a new Workforce Opportunity for Rural Communities initiative that Hyde-Smith actively worked to fund last year as a member of the Senate Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Appropriations Subcommittee.  Congress directed to Labor Department to issue grants to programs in the Appalachian and Delta regions.  

Grant awards to Mississippi communities, which are within the Delta Regional Authority (DRA) and Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) areas, include:

  • Panola County - $2,154,000 to renovate a factory outlet mall into a regional workforce-training center.  Impact area:  Calhoun, Lafayette, Panola, Quitman, Tallahatchie, Tate, and Yalobusha counties.
  • Hinds Community College - $1,327,226 to establish an advanced manufacturing, engineering and logistics center targeting unemployed and under-skilled individuals.  Impact area:  Claiborne, Copiah, Hinds, Rankin, and Warren counties.
  • Base Camp Coding Academy - $635,000 to expand a computer coding pilot program for youth, and refurbish a historic factory into a Rural Education and Innovation Hub.  Impact area:  Calhoun, Lafayette, Lee, Panola, Pontotoc, Tallahatchie, and Yalobusha counties.

This new grant program seeks to address the unique workforce development needs in rural communities.   The Labor Department’s Employment and Training Administration will administer the grants, in collaboration with DRA and ARC.