GREENE COUNTY — Singing River Electric announced the approval of a $1-million zero-interest loan by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Business Service and Singing River Electric to fund an economic development project in Greene County.
Jones County Junior College (JCJC) will use the loan to construct a 17,868-square-foot education training facility adjacent to the Greene County Vo-Tech facility just west of Leakesville. This building will house a welding lab, a pipefitting lab, a computer lab, a covered work area, five classrooms and offices for the college’s new Greene County Training Center.
“The center will offer the citizens of Greene County many opportunities, such as academic classes, hybrid classes, ABE/GED and dual enrollment,” said JCJC president Dr. Jesse Smith. “In the past, students had to commute to the college campus in Ellisville, but now they will have the convenience of taking their classes at the Greene County facility.”
The purpose of the Rural Economic Development (RED) Loan and Grant program is to leverage private and other public funding to expand the economic base of rural communities. Under the RED loan program, USDA provides zero-interest loans to local utilities, which in turn pass through the loans to local businesses for projects that will create and retain employment in rural areas.
As a designated rural community, Greene County was eligible to benefit from this federal funding.
JCJC is currently operating a pipefitting class and a welding class in Greene County in borrowed space at the local vo-tech center and in local school classrooms and churches. This new facility will address the needs of the community including ongoing demand for vo-tech classes and the need for skilled workers as a result of business expansion occurring within commuting distance of Greene County.