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CEDA - Category III Winner

MS Lou Work Ready Region       

February 2, 2017

Natchez, Mississippi – The Mississippi Economic Development Council (MEDC) announced that the Miss Lou Work Ready Region won the 2016 Community Economic Development Award (CEDA) on February 2, 2017.

The CEDA program is a “Best Practices” program intended to recognize exceptional contributions of communities in the State of Mississippi for the following efforts: business retention & expansion, business recruitment, community development and community involvement.

In September of 2015 a group of leaders in Adams County launched a regional effort to grow the workforce for the future: “The Miss Lou Work Ready Region”.  The Miss Lou Work Ready Region Initiative brought together Natchez, Inc., Alcorn State University, Concordia Parish Economic Development, with help from Central Louisiana Economic Development Alliance and Delta Regional Authority to create a plan to show current and future industries that Adams County and Concordia Parish were ready to work when they arrived.  A community wide team got to work immediately.  Using the ACT WorkKeys® test was an answer to the workforce question asked on many site visits; as well as, our area’s existing business and industry community.  At the launch event we kicked off the morning with a toast to the future of our region and the real work began.

With the help of our area employers’ support we quickly accomplished one of the goals set for the area by ACT.  Explaining how using the WorkKeys® assessment for current and prospective employees encouraged companies to gladly sign up to support the initiative.  Presentations to area groups brought awareness of this new tool for the region to understand its workforce. This soon became a new part of the interview and hiring process for many companies. Since that September day, we have received support from 43 of our area employers, who recognize the importance of this initiative.  

‘Thinking Outside of the Box’ helped the region reach their test taking goals.  A job fair was held at our Natchez Mall in May of 2016.  Besides representatives from hospitality industry employers, the WIN Job Center was present to schedule people to take the WorkKeys® test at the local community college, Copiah-Lincoln.  Over 200 people signed up to take the test that day.  When job fair participants arrived, they were greeted with information on WorkKeys®.  The phrase ‘Pick Up your Ticket to a Good Job and Better Career with WorkKeys®’ has blanketed the local media for our region.  Knowing that taking one assessment can help an individual stand out in a stack of applications or receive a promotion, has made individuals willing to take the assessment to better themselves professionally. This event, along with other efforts, allowed us to meet our goal and currently 495 WorkKeys® Assessments have been completed in Adams County.  

The Miss Lou Work Ready Region celebrated the completion of Adams County’s goals, set by ACT, on October 18, 2016, making Adams County the first county in Mississippi to achieve ACT Certified Work Ready Community status.  Our existing business community and supporting employers celebrated with another toast as we set out to meet our new goals to maintain our Certified status.  Stay tuned to see how Adams County will achieve these new goals…#MissLouWorks!


To learn more about MS Lou Work Ready Region, please contact:

Chandler Russ, Executive Director, Natchez, Inc.
PO Box 700
Natzhez, MS 39121
.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
Phone: (601) 445-0822


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