The WAEM Initiative is focused on four areas:
- Developing regional/community leadership
- Promoting entrepreneurship as a viable economic development strategy in the local economy
- Creating a credentialed workforce
- Entrepreneurship education
Jones continues to partner with the Mississippi State Community Action Team (MSCAT) to perform First Impression Assessments in the communities in the Jones district. These reports offer a community the opportunity to see itself through the eyes of a visitor. The report spotlights positive things that a visitor may see when entering a community, as well as opportunities that towns have to make a better first impression. For more information on how First Impressions can make your community better and for a list of participating towns, visit www.mscat.msstate.edu/firstimpressions/.
In conjunction with Mississippi Main Street, the team is also working with several communities to facilitate charettes. During the Charette, community development professionals will assess a town and offer strategies for business and community development. This will be a valuable step in the revitalization efforts of the communities.
Career Readiness Certificate (CRC) testing is offered as a part of the WAEM Initiative in Ellisville and Bay Springs. The CRC provides the opportunity for an individual to demonstrate his/her abilities to a prospective employer. Individuals are tested on:
- Locating Information
- Reading for Information
- Applied Mathematics
The CRC also allows employers to evaluate applicants during the application process. Many businesses have been able to save money by using the CRC in place of other pre-employment testing.
The Modern Multi-Skilled Manufacturing (M3) Credential is a tool that employers and employees are using to facilitate the training process more efficiently. The M3 Basic Production Level Program increases an individual’s skills in the basic areas of a production facility. The curriculum is a combination of internet based learning as well as hands-on demonstration of skills mastery. Skills can be demonstrated at the JCJC Whitehead Advanced Technology Center in Ellisville or in the Mobile Lab that is available for set-up throughout the district.
Through the WAEM efforts, Jones has been able to partner with the Southern Entrepreneurship Program at the University of Southern Mississippi t support entrepreneurship classes at the local secondary schools. High School Juniors are able to learn the basics of entrepreneurship as well as network with other students throughout the state. The students spend on semester learning how to develop their entrepreneurial skills, while the second semester is spent learning how to operate a small business.