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12/6/13 - MSU, USM holding development workshops for elected officials

A new partnership between Mississippi State University and the University of Southern Mississippi will culminate in December with two economic development workshops for elected officials.

"Basic Community and Economic Development: Practical Tools for Elected Officials" will first be held Dec. 11 from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. at USM's Trent Lott National Center for Excellence in Economic Development and Entrepreneurship.

MSU's workshop will be held Dec. 18 at the Hunter Henry Center. The university's John C. Stennis Institute for Government and Community Development will host the event.

Registration costs $30, and forms are available at They may be submitted online or faxed to the appropriate institution.

Workshop sessions will explore economic development trends and financing, as well as expanding infrastructure and revitalizing downtowns. Key topics will include business, entrepreneur and site development, strategic partnerships and historic preservation, among others.

"We wanted to reach out to the officials who are in the government offices doing the day-to-day work," said Joe Fratesi, Stennis Institute project director. "Elected officials will be able to understand more about their role in improving economic development if we can provide them some additional information."

Shannon Campbell, director of USM's Lott Center emphasized that workshop presenters were carefully selected for their economic development experience.

"Guest speakers who have routinely worked with elected officials to bring jobs to Mississippi will present their topics," she said. "They will be able to share the perspective of mayors, supervisors and other local elected officials."

Campbell said the Stennis Institute staff has extensive experience in offering training services for elected officials. The geographic location of host institutions in the Magnolia State's northern and southern halves should enable officials to travel to and from the workshop on the same day.

Though the speakers will be different, workshop agendas are identical, Fratesi said. Therefore, officials who cannot attend the workshop in their region, for whatever reason, could plan to attend the other.

Campbell and Fratesi agreed that partnership between MSU and USm is a great way for both universities to share resources, while providing valuable information and expertise to community leaders.

"We're improving the working relationship with another university," Fratesi said. "This is an opportune example of two different universities in Mississippi coming together to say, 'This is how we can partner together to address a need.'"

Other state and regional organizations are co-sponsoring the MSU-USM collaboration: Appalachian Regional Commission is sponsoring the MSU workshop; Mississippi Power is supporting USM's session.

The Mississippi Association of Supervisors and Mississippi Municipal League are supporting both sessions, and the MML is offering two certified municipal officials credits, or CMOs, for participating officials.

For more information about the MSU session, contact Fratesi at 662-325-6797 or Learn more about the USM workshop from Campbell at 601-266-6125 or

Leah Barbour | Public Affairs

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