Economic Leaders Forum to touchdown in Oxford late May

Published 5:45 pm Friday, April 1, 2022

The Mississippi Economic Development Council will deliver Economic Leaders Forums to Oxford on May 18-19 at the University of Mississippi for its inaugural year.

Oxford is one of five locations where economic forums will be held. Other forums will be held March 30-31 at Mississippi State University in Starkville, April 13-14 at Delta State University in Cleveland, April 27-28 at the University of Southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg and May 4-5 at Jackson State University in Jackson.

“MEDC is excited to partner with local universities and economic developers [to] offer strong economic development learning opportunities in five centrally located places across the state,” said Gwen Howard, Executive Director for the Mississippi Economic Development Council. “Economic development is a team sport and it is our role to ensure all supporting partners are equipped with the knowledge they need to help Mississippi recruit and retain high-quality careers so we continue on a path to economic prosperity.”

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Howard acknowledged the presence of similar programs and forums but said the Mississippi Economic Development Council could be different.

“We can have a broader reach,” she said. “It was just a great opportunity for us to allow a statewide program that had an approved agenda by our partnering organizations along with those that are already doing some of this in our community. We hope for more partnerships and for a better, broader understanding of what economic development is.”

The goal of the forums is to provide relevant and timely opportunities for elected officials and community partners responsible for community and economic development at the local level. Topics of discussion will be the local government’s role in economic development, the workforce, finance programs, attraction and retention and much more.

According to Howard, economic developers strive toward job growth and economic prosperity.

“Every EDO or EDF operates with a different set of goals but the overall angle for most economic developers is economic growth from jobs and good jobs that pay,” said Howard. “That’s usually the overall goal of economic development organizations but the way they get there is based on their community’s strengths.”

Each forum will feature regional area economic and community development experts, as well as professionals from state-wide organizations such as the Mississippi Development Authority, Mississippi Main Street Association and Mississippi Small Business Development Center. Training will be condensed but versatile enough that attendees can gain the training and perspective need to benefit their respective communities.

“Even though it’s a day and a half of training,” Howard said, “it is very compact and it’s very intentional.”

Each forum is a day and a half of training which begins at 3 p.m. on the first day and ends at 3:30 p.m. the following. View the event agenda below:

Economic Leaders Forums Full Agenda

The program is recognized by the Mississippi Municipal League as four hours of the Certified Municipal Officials Program and by the International Economic Development Council as a professional development event that counts toward the recertification of Certified Economic Developers.

For more information on the Economic Leaders Forums or to register,