BELDEN, MS – Joined by business and civic leaders from Northeast Mississippi, U.S. Senators Roger Wicker and Cindy Hyde-Smith today announced the results of an innovative public-private partnership to grow the skilled workforce in North Mississippi. The partnership, made possible through a $175,000 grant from the Appalachian Regional Commission matched with private funds, brought together Three Rivers Planning and Development District, the CREATE Foundation, the Toyota Wellspring Fund and The Skills Foundation of Mississippi.
“At The Skills Foundation, we try to simplify a complex and challenging issue, workforce development, which is today’s most important issue affecting economic growth,” said Amy Tate, Chairperson for The Skills Foundation. “We simply need to train more people with the specific skills that are in demand and convince more of our citizens that, today and in the future, these are the best opportunities.”
As part of the partnership, the group announced that Get on the Grid, Mississippi’s Virtual Guidance Counselor (, now exists in an expanded, region-specific version that caters to the priorities and economic needs of Northeast Mississippi.
“As a native of Northeast Mississippi, I am proud to help announce this project to further develop our regional workforce,” Wicker said. “This partnership and grant will more effectively link education to jobs. In doing so, we will put more Mississippians on the path to a high-earning career.”
“When we can educate and train our workforce and simultaneously match their skills with jobs, we will generate opportunities to keep our homegrown talent in-state and provide sustainable economic growth for Mississippi,” Hyde-Smith said.  “I’m pleased this is a public-private collaboration focused on getting more people into higher paying career pathways and meeting the workforce needs of our businesses and employers.”
Along with showing the newly expanded Get on the Grid, the partnership also debuted a ‘virtual classroom experience’, created for a classroom setting to more fully expose students in Northeast Mississippi to the most in-demand career paths locally available.
About The Skills Foundation of Mississippi, Inc.: The Skills Foundation of Mississippi is a 501c3 organization that seeks to facilitate greater collaboration between the public and private sectors and develop strategies for the purpose of increasing Mississippi’s supply of skilled workforce. For individuals, families and Mississippi, our competitiveness and quality of life depend on having the skills to meet the economic demands of the 21st century.