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Alabama-Mississippi WIRED updates October 26, 2006

Posted by Tom in Community, Economic Development, WIRED, Workforce.
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Foundation-building in Dixie:

“We enjoyed hosting the WIRED meeting,” said Regina Kitchens, a member of the JCJC team. “We were able to learn more about the other college districts and the economies of those areas. Our weekly WIRED meetings will allow us the opportunity to create a plan that will aid the entire region in reaching its goal — to become enterprise ready.”

  • The Hattiesburg American details a little more of the thinking behind this WIRED effort:

“The whole point is to regionally brand us as a special place to do business,” just as areas like Silicon Valley and the Research Triangle have distinguished themselves, JCJC President Jesse Smith said Thursday.

The goal is to create a regional business identity by exploiting present resources in new ways, growing local entrepreneurship and attracting outside businesses to the area, which encompasses 100 communities and is home to about a million people, Smith said.

The region’s culture and traditions present an attractive backdrop for employers looking to relocate their businesses, [WIRED initiative director Bill] Crawford said.

“People prefer to live in rural communities, but they want all the stuff that goes along with being in a developing environment,” he said.

Central to the effort will be convincing individual communities and counties to think regionally without losing any individual identity, Smith said.

“Building trust is a hard thing to do – it’s kind of like turning a ship around,” he said. “For a supervisor in a county, his primary concern is taking care of his people – our job will be to convince him or her that they are a piece of a puzzle, a big picture, and that their efforts matter to what we’re all doing.”

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