DRA, Appalachian Regional Commission Announce $650,000 Investment to Support Workforce Development

August 07, 2019

Investment enhances industry-led workforce training program in shared DRA, ARC county

CLARKSDALE, MS – Today, the Delta Regional Authority (DRA) and the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) announced a joint award, totaling $650,000, to support industry-led workforce training and entrepreneurship in north Mississippi. This investment will help enhance the offerings of Base Camp Coding Academy, a non-profit organization that trains young adults from Yalobusha, Lafayette, Grenada, Panola, and Tallahatchie counties to become software developers in less than a year. Yalobusha County is one of ten counties located in both the DRA and ARC regions.

Base Camp Coding Academy will use DRA and ARC’s partnership investment to leverage tax credits, brownfields remediation funds, and private contributions to repurpose an abandoned garment factory that will house the non-profit’s coding academy, a satellite campus for Northwest Mississippi Community College, a business incubator, and a collaborative workspace for regional technology companies.

“Base Camp Coding Academy has already trained dozens of high school graduates to become software developers over the past three years. This investment will help them scale to meet the needs of regional employers, strengthen talent pipelines, and create more job opportunities for our region’s residents,” said DRA Federal Co-Chairman Chris Caldwell. “DRA is proud to partner with the Appalachian Regional Commission to invest in our shared footprint in north Mississippi. Our partnership is as strong as it has ever been, and I commend Chairman Thomas for his leadership and commitment to our common goal.”  

“This investment will allow for the expansion of an initiative that has successfully trained students for in-demand careers throughout its pilot period,” said ARC Federal Co-Chairman Tim Thomas.  “I am pleased that this program will continue to benefit talented rural students and provide them with the chance to turn their new skills into business opportunities in their own community.”

Funding for these awards were made through DRA’s States’ Economic Development Assistance Program and ARC’s Area Development Program, flagship funding programs for each respective regional commission.

“Our state is focused on preparing Mississippians for careers in high demand areas,” said Gov. Phil Bryant. “This joint award will improve the facility at the Base Camp Coding Academy thereby enhancing the learning experience and training provided to young adults in preparation for high paying jobs.  I applaud this joint effort by DRA and the ARC.”

“North Mississippi should be excited about the forward-looking goals set by the Base Camp Coding Academy, which are creating educational and employment opportunities for this region.  I appreciate DRA and ARC contributions to a broader collaboration to ensure the success and growth of this program,” said U.S. Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.).

About the Delta Regional Authority

Established in 2000 by Congress, the Delta Regional Authority makes strategic investments of federal appropriations into the physical and human infrastructure of Delta communities. Led by the Delta Regional Authority Board-comprised of the Federal Co-Chairman, appointed by the President and confirmed by the U.S. Senate, and the governors of the eight states-the Delta Regional Authority fosters local and regional partnerships that address economic and social challenges to ultimately strengthen the Delta economy and the quality of life for Delta residents. The Delta Regional Authority works to improve regional economic opportunity by helping to create jobs, build communities, and improve the lives of the 10 million people who reside in the 252 counties and parishes of the eight-state Delta region.

About the Appalachian Regional Commission

The Appalachian Regional Commission is an economic development agency of the federal government and 13 state governments focusing on 420 counties across the Appalachian Region. ARC's mission is to innovate, partner, and invest to build community capacity and strengthen economic growth in Appalachia to help the Region achieve socioeconomic parity with the nation.

DRA Media Contact: Susan Edwards         

DRA Program Contact: Kemp Morgan