Delta Regional Authority

November 06, 2020 | In this Issue: A Message from the Federal Co-Chairman | DRA “mini-tour” stops in Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama | DRCHSD application now on dra.gov

A Message from the Federal Co-Chairman

Visiting all eight DRA states at least once per year is an important priority of mine as DRA Federal Co-Chairman.  Although COVID-19 travel restrictions made this more difficult in 2020, I am happy to report that I completed this goal last month.  As part of a “mini tour” of the DRA region, I visited Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama to announce new DRA investments and view recently completed projects.  Among my stops was the University of Louisiana Monroe, the City of West Monroe, Hinds Community College, and the University of West Alabama.  I would like to give a special thanks to all of the city officials and college administrators for welcoming me to your communities.

Hitting the road and traveling the Delta is one of my favorite parts of the job, and it is even more fulfilling when seeing first-hand the anticipation, excitement, and outcomes from these investments in DRA communities.  More about this “mini tour” can be found in this newsletter, but if your town/program is planning to announce a new project receiving DRA funding or celebrate the completion of one, please reach out and “Connect with the Chairman” to let us know.



DRA “Mini-Tour” stops in Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama

Last month, Chairman Caldwell visited Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama as part of a “mini-tour” of the region to speak with community leaders, tour program facilities, announce new DRA funding, and attend a ribbon-cutting ceremony for a recently completed DRA-funded project.  Included in the visit was the City of West Monroe, the University of Louisiana Monroe, Hinds Community College, and the University of West Alabama.  

At the University of Louisiana Monroe, Chairman Caldwell joined ULM President Dr. Ronald Berry to announce a $1,074,510 grant from the U.S. Department of Labor’s Workforce Opportunity for Rural Communities (WORC) initiative to develop the “High School Business Academy in the Louisiana Delta” program.  The program will teach students from Richland, Morehouse, East Carroll, and Ouachita parishes the basics of entrepreneurship, management, marketing, and accounting, and participating college-bound students can earn up to 18 hours of college credit.  

In West Monroe, Chairman Caldwell met with Mayor Staci Mitchell, DRA Louisiana Designee Leslie Durham, and Louisiana Economic Development Deputy Secretary Brad Lambert to discuss plans for the Highland Park Commercial Subdivision, which was awarded a $714,512 DRA investment through the States’ Economic Development Assistance Program (SEDAP).  The investment is projected to create 20 new jobs, affect 20 families, and provide much needed infrastructure improvements to further develop the City of West Monroe.  Following a press conference announcing the SEDAP award, they proceeded to West Monroe’s Business District for a ribbon-cutting celebrating the completion of DRA-funded Commercial Park.

Hinds Community College (HCC) President Dr. Stephen Vacik welcomed Chairman Caldwell to speak with industry partners in Mississippi and tour the KLLM Driving Academy and Diesel Technology Academy.  These two nationally recognized academies, established in collaboration with industry partners in the transportation and logistics sectors, train over 1,000 incumbent workers annually with over 95% participant employment placement rates.  HCC incorporates a registered apprenticeship program within both academies.  

Chairman Caldwell joined the University of West Alabama (UWA) President Dr. Ken Tucker to officially launch the “Skills on Wheels” Mobile Training Lab.  UWA Vice President Dr. Tina Jones, Alabama DRA Designee and ADECA Director Kenneth Boswell, and Alabama DRA Alternate Designee Crystal Talley were also present at the launch.  The “Skills on Wheels” Lab was part of a 2019 WORC grant project designed to address current barriers and gaps in the workforce pipeline.  The project’s goal is to increase the advanced manufacturing employment skill sets in underserved DRA counties.



Delta Region Community Health Systems Development Program (DRCHSD) Application Now on dra.gov

Applications for the Delta Region Community Health Systems Development Program (DRCHSD) are now available on the DRA website.  In collaboration with the Health Resources & Services Administration (HRSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), DRA implements the DRCHSD Technical Assistance Program to provide in-depth and long-term technical assistance to critical access hospitals, small rural hospitals, rural health clinics, and other healthcare organizations in select rural communities throughout the Delta.

The application process for DRCHSD is a continuous cycle, and applications may be submitted at any time.  Applications are submitted to the National Rural Health Resource Center via the “DRCHSD Program Application” link on the DRA website.  For questions regarding the application process, please contact Christina Wade, DRA Health Programs Manager, at cwade@dra.gov.



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