IEDC Member Featured on CBS 60 Minutes for Achievements in Economic Development
Joe Max Higgins highlighted for creating 6,000 manufacturing jobs in Mississippi’s Golden Triangle
Joe Max Higgins, CEO of the Golden Triangle Development Link and a member of IEDC, was featured on CBS 60 Minutes on Dec. 4 for his achievements in manufacturing job growth in Mississippi’s Golden Triangle.
Correspondent Bill Whitaker interviewed Higgins in Mississippi and the segment shows the development Higgins has brought to the area. As one of the poorest regions in the country, parts of the Golden Triangle reached unemployment rates of up to 20 percent during the Great Recession. This was due in part to thousands of manufacturing jobs leaving the area as companies offshored to cut costs. Learn about reshoring. See how and why companies are returning their operations to American cities.
“A lot of those people just left. They were so devastated by Artech’s closing, Flexible Flyer’s closing, Blazon Tube closing, how ‘bout that?” Higgins told CBS 60 Minutes. “I mean, just bam, bam, bam, the hits just keep on coming.”
Higgins is credited with bringing 6,000 jobs to the tri-county area since 2003 and attracting $6 billion of advanced industry including the Steel Dynamics steel mill and the PACCAR engine plant. Since most citizens of the Golden Triangle are not skilled in advanced manufacturing, Higgins spearheaded a program with a local community college to provide customized training for each plant and every manufacturer coming in. IEDC recently released a workforce training manual, which economic developers can reference for ideas and best practices related to building working-learning systems.
The segment notes that Higgins’ success is a product of his ferocious, relentless attitude toward making the Golden Triangle a better place.
“I tell our staff, ‘If you leave our office and-- and you didn’t do somethin’ to make our place a better place today, then you need to find another job,’” Higgins said.
So far, in addition to the influx of jobs, tax revenue has gone up and more advanced industry projects are in the works. Higgins’ appearance on CBS 60 Minutes brings awareness to the profession of economic development as a whole, potentially making way for new successes in other areas. The video segment and transcript can be found at www.cbsnews.com/news.
In the past, a college degree was the path to stability. But today, traditional models of education can't keep up. Those already in the workforce feel pressure from changing job requirements and are seeking ways to keep up. But even though there are a lot of trends that threaten job stability in this economy, there are also many ladders that can help workers adjust.
With funding from the ACT Foundation and the National Network of Business and Industry Associations, IEDC has produced “Chutes and Ladders: The New Rules of the Game for Upskilling Workers,” which offers a framework to build a culture of upskilling. This guide is the result of three trainings that were given in 2016, and feature activities which fit into a continuum that builds a working-learning ecosystem. This creates a ladder for workers to ascend to the next step of their career - and for companies to find the talent they need.
Reshoring American Jobs is a project funded by the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA). This microsite is a repository of information on the reshoring of previously outsourced U.S.-based business operations geared to economic developers. It is the go-to place to learn about and find resources to support activities encouraging reshoring in communities. Economic developers will find the latest news, case studies, and in-depth research on reshoring activity to help them stay in-the-know on reshoring trends.