Natchez, MS Named a 2017 Community Economic Development Award Winner

September 13, 2017


ATLANTA (September 13, 2017) – The Southern Economic Development Council (SEDC) has announced the recipients of its annual Community Economic Development Awards (CEDA).  Natchez, Inc. submitted a regional effort to grow the workforce of the future. The entry was the winner in the category of Communities with 15,001—40,000 in Population.  Winners were recognized at an awards luncheon held in their honor Monday, August 21, at SEDC’s annual conference in Charlotte, NC.

“Economic Developers in the South are some of the best in the business,” said SEDC 2017 Chairman Robert E. Leak, Jr. “This award goes to communities that exemplify the highest level of economic development professionalism.  We are proud to have them in the SEDC region.”

The projects/programs submitted were recognized in the categories of business retention and expansion, business recruitment, community development and community involvement.  Entries were evaluated on their innovativeness, transferability, community commitment and leverage, measured objectives and secondary benefits.

Natchez, Inc. won for launching a regional effort to grow the workforce of the future. The Miss- Lou Work Ready Region Initiative brought together Natchez, Inc., Alcorn State University and Concordia Parish Economic Development, with help from Central Louisiana Economic Development Alliance and Delta Regional Authority. The goal was to create a dynamic way to demonstrate that Adams County and Concordia Parish are “work force ready” by promoting the American Council of Testing (ACT) WorkKeys® certification process as a way individuals can enhance their resumés, and persuading local industries and businesses to recognize the certification in their interview and hiring processes.

“The CEDA program not only recognizes excellence, but allows SEDC to promote successful, results proven programs that can be shared with other communities,” said SEDC President Gene Stinson.  “We look for and encourage replicability as a key measure of success.”

"It is an honor that our hard work is recognized by SEDC through the CEDA award, we remain committed to improving our area and being a leader in the South in Economic Development, a special thank you to Ruth Nichols for her leadership and all of our partners committed to improving our workforce in the region," Chandler Russ, Executive Director of Natchez, Inc. 

SEDC is the oldest and largest regional economic development association in North America, with more than 1,100 members representing a variety of backgrounds. From local, regional and state economic development agencies, chambers of commerce, business and industry, utilities, transportation, finance and education, members share a common interest: the promotion and enhancement of the economic development profession. To find out more about SEDC, please visit   



SEDC’s local conference chair, Ronnie Bryant, and SEDC chairman, Bob Leak Jr., presented, Chris Hinton, Community Development Manager at Entergy Mississippi (Former Natchez, Inc. Project Manager), with award on behalf of Natchez, MS.

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