Multi-million dollar investment to fund Mississippi shipbuilding industry

MOSS POINT, Miss. (WLOX) – A multi-million dollar investment is heading to the Magnolia State to modernize Mississippi’s shipbuilding industry.

More resources are funding Mississippi’s shipbuilding industry, and it comes with a hefty price tag.

On Tuesday, the Department of Defense and other state partners awarded nearly $5 million to expand opportunities.

Deputy of Secondary Strategy Courtney Taylor said Accelerate MS with MS Department of Employment Security focuses on a major component: workforce development.

“This is heavily centered on bringing some additional resources to groups that are already working in the area, trying to bolster what they’re doing and enhance what they’re doing to get to more and more people,” Taylor said.

Organizations include defense suppliers, academic campuses, and government agencies.

Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College and Halter Marine partnered for a four-year apprenticeship program.

”The training they get here will help them accelerate their career on move up in the company. These are our future workforce for Halter Marine. This is definitely a stepping stone for the youth in our community and their career to move up,” said Mike Lelux with Halter Marine.

Funds from the grant covers training and time in the classrooms.

Delia Bigras’s interest in manufacturing has grown over the years. She’s working to hold a higher position after time in the program.

“I wanted to learn how to weld. I wanted to learn how to get more in depth with industrial. It’s something I always wanted to do. Its a great path for me and I enjoy learning everything,” Bigras said.

Mississippi’s defense industry provides thousands of careers, and it’s a vital part of the state’s economy.

“It teaches you a new trade. It teaches you a new life skill because everything you learn here, you can also apply it elsewhere,” said apprentice Allan Borjas.

There are over thirty organizations with the MS-SHIPS Consortium.

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