Glenn McCullough Jr., Guest ColumnistPublished 4:00 p.m. CT Dec. 30, 2018
As 2018 comes to a close, it is a good time to reflect on the bountiful blessings of the past year in Mississippi.
The people of Mississippi are our state’s greatest asset. Our values, our way of life and our diverse, natural beauty make Mississippi a special place.
Business leaders around the world are investing private capital and creating exciting new careers in Mississippi. In 2018, almost $1.1 billion in private capital investment representing more than 50 economic development wins created 5,106 new jobs in our state. A record number of Mississippians are working today, incomes are up, unemployment is down, and Mississippians are winning. As we move into 2019, the project pipeline is near capacity. In community and economic development, Mississippi is winning. Thanks to teamwork across our state, 2019 has the potential to be another record-breaking year for economic growth.
Between July 1, 2017, and June 30, 2018, 24 million visitors experienced the beauty, culture, hospitality and culinary delights that make Mississippi unique. That is an increase of over 800,000 visitors from the prior year and the second-most ever. Tourists spent a record $6.51 billion in our hotels, restaurants and businesses.
In Mississippi, we win with people. Gov. Phil Bryant, Lieutenant Governor Tate Reeves, House Speaker Philip Gunn, our Legislature and Mississippi’s economic development partners — including our utilities, K-12 education system, community colleges and universities — play as one team to create an environment that attracts private capital investment, leads to more and better careers for Mississippians and brings more visitors from around the world.
A strong business climate, a dedicated and skilled workforce, educational innovation and cultural experiences that can’t be found anywhere else are the foundation of Mississippi’s economic growth. From 2012 to 2018, $7 billion in private capital investment and more than 35,408 new careers have fueled Mississippi’s economic expansion. We’re not done yet!
MDA is committed to excellence in teamwork with our partners to accelerate the growth of Mississippi’s economy. Winning with people means we will educate, train and develop a workforce for the future. The Aspire Mississippi and Mississippi Works programs are designed to do just that — achieve excellence in leadership and community development, which includes a workforce that gives Mississippi a strategic advantage in today’s global economy.
Mississippi is united as one team with a strong faith for future economic development wins as we move together forward.