19 counties in Mississippi: Clay, Oktibbeha, Winston, Leake, Scott, Smith, Covington, Lowndes, Noxubee, Neshoba, Newton, Jasper, Jones, Perry, Greene, Wayne, Clarke, Lauderdale, Kemper
18 counties in Alabama: Lamar, Fayette, Walker, Pickens, Tuscaloosa, Greene, Sumter, Hale, Perry, Dallas, Marengo, Choctaw, Clarke, Wilcox, Monroe, Lowndes, Conecuh
Target industries: Health Care, Advanced Manufacturing, Biotechnology
The Western Alabama and Eastern Mississippi (WAEM) WIRED zone focuses on building and leveraging partnerships with regional stakeholders to create a world-renowned regional identity built around its enterprise-centric workforce.
WAEM's vision is to transform a mostly rural population into an enterprising region known for entrepreneurship, innovative workforce systems and wealth creation.
To achieve this transformation WAEM seeks to meet four overarching goals:
- Fashion an enterprise-ready regional identity and civic culture by focusing on building partnerships and collaboration across the region to identify key regional assets and approaches to leveraging those assets and begin forming regional networks.
- Spur and sustain rural economic transformation through a regional, integrated systems approach to economic and community entrepreneurship that:
- Identifies and nurtures entrepreneurs who will use local assets as the cornerstone for new businesses and job opportunities; and
- Establishes and institutionalizes opportunities that have the capacity to help the region become enterprise-ready through community and junior colleges.
- Credential, certify and transform to a regionally branded workforce.
- Engage K-12 schools and youth development programs in regional branding and enterprise-ready activities.
This approach to economic transformation provides an innovative way to access and deliver programs and services and support entrepreneurship through all community systems.