Governor Tate Reeves touted the importance of manufacturing and workforce development to the Magnolia State’s economy as he toured one of Prentiss County’s biggest industrial success stories last week.
Reeves paid a visit to New Way Trucks to get an up-close look at the facility which recently announced a $4 million expansion less than two years after announcing plans to locate its refuse truck manufacturing facility in the county. New Way began operations in early 2020.
“It’s really a prime example of what’s happening in Mississippi right now. I was told, literally in January of 2020 the day I was sworn in, you could have played football in there. Today they’re producing vehicle after vehicle after vehicle for their customers and that’s something we should all be proud of,” said the governor following a tour of the manufacturing plant.
The company announced in October 2019 it would locate operations in the former Wolverine Tube building in the Booneville/Prentiss Industrial Park where they now manufacture a full line of refuse trucks designed for the collection of residential and commercial solid waste. They’ve seen steady growth and in July announced plans to add 120 new jobs through an expansion into a separate 66,000-square-foot facility where they will manufacture and fabricate parts and sub-assemblies as well as conduct research and new product development.
The governor said the kind of success and progress seen at New Way is happening across the state through a focus on workforce development and economic development.
“I want to be clear,” he said. “This is happening all over Mississippi today. It’s happening in large part because of some of the works we’ve been able to accomplish.”
Pointing to the Accelerate Mississippi program, which officially launched in June as a rebranding and refocusing of the Mississippi Office of Workforce Development to focus on policies and efforts in workforce training and the creation of a stronger workforce for the state.
Reeves also pointed to the strong relationship between New Way and Northeast Mississippi Community College as a model for what needs to happen between industry and training partners. The company and the college have worked hand in hand to train new workers and improve the skills of existing employees to meet the needs of the company and prepare the workers for high-paying skilled jobs at the facility.
“That’s the way it’s supposed to work. We train and retrain the workforce. We invest in our people and then those great private sector entities like New Way invest their capital here and hire our people at good-paying jobs,” he said.
The governor said the state is focused on building the workforce and creating opportunities for citizens.
“We’re making sure we’re training people in our state to provide not the jobs of the last 50 years but the jobs of the next 50 years and that’s exactly what we’re doing here,” he said.
The governor also pointed to the partners at the local, state, and federal level who have made projects like the New Way expansion possible as key to economic development efforts. He said he’s very proud of the team approach that’s creating progress in the state.
“I believe our future is bright because of it,” said Reeves.