Building on the success of previous Ambassador and Aspire Mississippi classes, the Mississippi Development Authority, in collaboration with the Stennis Institute, is retooling and launching a 2023 cohort of Aspire Mississippi. Designed to help build economic development support networks in select communities, participants will receive basic education and training while designing and implementing collaborative strategies to address specific challenges impeding local economic progress.
Vibrant economic development requires collaborations in four critical areas: talent development; innovation and entrepreneurship networks; quality connected places; and new narratives. Using an asset-based approach as a framework, participating communities will build local teams that identify sustainable strategic initiatives that strengthen one of these critical areas and positively improve economic development efforts by linking and leveraging resources through short-term and long-term activities.
Symposiums and virtual educational sessions will provide participants with base level knowledge and skills training regarding local economic and community development best practices in data research and analysis, community development, economic development, and workforce development.
While the community teams will receive basic education and training, the thrust of the Aspire effort will be the technical assistance provided to participating teams. Based on a specific challenge (or opportunity) identified, collaborative action teams will be formed and will design and implement strategic initiatives that support economic development efforts. Ultimately, local teams will take an inclusive approach to economic development and launch new ways to accelerate actions.