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Training center is earmarked for Gulf Coast

GULFPORT — The U.S. Department of Commerce will invest more than $2 million in a planned resort and hospitality training center at the Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College (MGCCC) Jefferson Davis Campus in Gulfport, according to Sen. Thad Cochran (R-Miss.).

The Economic Development Administration (EDA), an agency within the Commerce Department, awarded the competitive grant to help construct a state-of-the-art Hospitality and Resort Management Center. Construction of the 50,000-square-foot center is expected to cost $9.98 million and create 636 jobs related to construction, support personnel and other positions related to the project.

The MGCCC applied for the EDA grant as a disaster recovery project based on the job losses sustained following Hurricane Katrina in 2005, and Hurricanes Gustav and Ike in 2008. Once opened, the center is expected to offer programs in hospitality tourism management, business and marketing management technology, culinary arts and potentially health and spa technologies.

Development of the center, including equipping it, will cost almost $14 million, according to the MGCCC.

Scheduled to be operational in the 2010-2011 school year, the project is nearing the completion of its infrastructure and site design phase. Beyond the federal EDA grant, the project is being funded through the MGCCC Capital Improvement Fund and bonds from state and local governments. MGCCC has also received letters of assurance and support related to projected new hires expected as the hospitality industry grows in South Mississippi.

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