Mississippi: A Component for Success
Area Development Online Research Desk (Automotive Site Guide 2007)
An Accessible Location
Mississippi is located in the heart of the Southern Automotive Corridor that runs along Interstates 65, 75, 85, 20, and 55. This gives automotive suppliers the opportunity to be in close proximity to assembly plants like Nissan in Canton, Mississippi, and the future site of Toyota in Tupelo, Mississippi, as well other plants located throughout the region. Mississippi's highway system ranks among the four best in the country and the best in the southern United States.
Mississippi's location, which is central to both U.S. coasts, is within a day's drive of more than 50 percent of the U.S. business population, including such major markets as Atlanta, Birmingham, Dallas, Houston, Little Rock, Memphis, Mobile, Nashville, New Orleans, and St. Louis. Twenty rail systems serve Mississippi with more than 2,800 miles of track, and the state's 16 ports include three on the Gulf Coast that provide access to worldwide commerce.
A Trained Work Force
The state of Mississippi offers a multitude of resources to ensure that our work force is prepared to meet the needs of your business.
Mississippi State University in Starkville is one of the nation's top research and development institutions. It is home to the Center for Advanced Vehicular Systems (CAVS), established in 2001 to embrace the interaction of the state with the automotive manufacturing industry. The University of Southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg is a national leader in the area of polymer science, with one of the top programs in the United States. This premier Polymer Research Institute also includes one of the most advanced rapid prototyping systems in the world.
The Center for Manufacturing Technology Excellence also provides training to companies located in Mississippi. That training option - combined with training available through the state's community/junior college system, which has been very successful at training Tier One and Tier Two automotive suppliers to Nissan - offers automotive suppliers a variety of options for adequately providing its workers with the technical skills needed for success.
A Supportive Business Climate
Mississippi offers a strong, supportive business climate, where the cost of doing business is low and many other tools are available to help your business compete in today's economy. Locations within Mississippi can offer companies substantial savings compared with many other parts of the United States.
Economic incentive programs provide income tax credits and other incentive payments for job creation, investment, retraining of employees and for research and development activities. The Mississippi Advantage Jobs Incentive Program provides quarterly incentive payments based on a percentage of withholding to qualifying companies for up to 10 years, which provides an important cash benefit to new companies locating in the state. In addition, cities and counties may also offer a property tax exemption for qualifying projects.
The Tort Reform Act of 2004 is another important element of the business climate in Mississippi. This act ensures fairness in the courtroom for Mississippi businesses, with provisions that address joinder and venue, innocent seller protection, and non-economic damages caps.
Mississippi also offers access to Foreign-Trade Zones, which are located along the Gulf Coast, in the Jackson/Vicksburg area, and in northern Mississippi.
Mississippi's Department of Environmental Quality offers manufacturers a one-stop permitting process for all environmental permits and regulations. It is also important to note that the entire state of Mississippi has achieved air quality attainment status.
A right-to-work state, Mississippi's union membership is less than seven percent. And the work force is well-prepared for jobs in the manufacturing sector, with more than 16 percent of its workers employed in manufacturing, the fifth highest per capita in the nation.
Melissa Morel, Economic Development Analyst
Mississippi Power Company
P.O. Box 4079
Gulfport, MS 39501