WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), a senior member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, and Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.), a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, today praised the award of $4,999,634 from the U.S. Department of Defense to the State of Mississippi to modernize the state’s shipbuilding industry. 

The Defense Manufacturing Community Support Program funding will specifically target workforce development initiatives to increase the defense sector’s capacity, capability, and resilience in Mississippi.  The grant will be matched by an additional $1.8 million investment from the state.

“Mississippi’s shipbuilders are the finest in the nation, but developing and retaining our talent requires long-term investment,” Wicker said.  “I am glad that the Department of Defense is making our shipbuilding mission a priority, and I am confident that this grant will help enhance our industrial capacity and strengthen our workforce.  I look forward to seeing Mississippi lead in building the world’s strongest fleet.”

“This sizeable influx of Defense Department resources will strengthen the hand of this Mississippi shipbuilding consortium to prepare more shipbuilders to be part of the stronger national security industrial base our nation must have,” Hyde-Smith said.  “Ultimately, we want to ensure there are more opportunities for more men and women to join the powerhouse that is Mississippi’s shipbuilding industry.”

AccelerateMS will lead a newly-formed Mississippi Shipbuilding Industry Preparedness for National Security (MS-SHIPS) Consortium, alongside the Mississippi Department of Employment Security, which will serve as the grant’s fiscal agent.  The MS-SHIPS Consortium is composed of 30 organizations including defense manufacturers and suppliers, academic institutions, government agencies, economic development organizations, and nonprofits.

Consortium members include Mississippi State University Center for Advanced Vehicular Systems, the University of Mississippi Center for Manufacturing Excellence, Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College, Pearl River Community College, Jones College, East Mississippi Community College, Southwest Mississippi Community College, Meridian Community College, Ingalls Shipbuilding, VT Halter Marine, Rolls Royce, Raytheon Intelligence & Space, the Jackson County Economic Development Foundation, the University of Southern Mississippi’s Mississippi Defense Initiative, the Mississippi Community College Board, the Mississippi Manufacturers Association-Manufacturing Extension Partnership, government entities, and K-12 districts.

“Mississippi’s defense industry represents billions of dollars and thousands of jobs which not only keep our country safe but also are a critical piece of our state’s economy,” said AccelerateMS Executive Director Ryan Miller.  “I am encouraged by this partnership and the impact it will most definitely have on enhancing shipbuilding capacity and expanding workforce opportunities across Mississippi.”

Read more about the grant here.