February 23, 2007 - Posted at 9:36 p.m CST
WEST MEMPHIS-The highlight of the day was an announcement by the U.S. Department of Labor.
"The Bush Administration's Labor Department will invest five million dollars in the Arkansas Delta," stated Assistant Secretary, Emily DeRocco.
That announcement honored Mid-South Community College's contributions to the Delta.
"We knew that we had a world class geography. We've got world class infrastructure. If we can simply couple that with world class educational opportunities, then there is absolutely no reason that this region cannot become one of the economic hot spots of our country," said President, Dr. Glen Fenter.
Moments later in the program, came another surprise to the school.
"I am pledging to you, that I am supporting all of the gap funding needed for the ADTEC program in the State of Arkansas," said Governor Mike Beebe as the crowd began to cheer.
This marked even more money for a school that's breaking the mold in technology.
Mid-South Community College is only one of several in Eastern Arkansas participating in the U.S. Department of Labor's Wired Initiative, which focuses on talent development in driving a regional economy.
Today, the accomplishments of the ADWIRED initiative have exceeded a total investment of 23-billion dollars to the Arkansas Delta.
"Now there's a relevancy between what higher education is doing towards the actual economic opportunities that are coming along," said Beebe.
While Governor Beebe wouldn't comment on the possiblity of a Toyota plant opening in the Delta, he did have say this.
"To even be in the final three suggests that Eastern Arkansas, the Delta, this community college, this AD-TEC work is positioning our people in a way that we are attracting opportunities beyond anything we've ever seen before."
As for those making the magic happen, it's a job far from finished.
"We've got a responsibility to do something about the economy in Eastern Arkansas, and we are not going to rest til that occurs," said Dr. Fenter.
Overall the area has recieved $6,450.665 this year from the U.S. Department of Labor.
For more information on the ADWIRED program you can check out this webpage.
**Note you will need Adobe Acrobat Reader to View.**