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Mississippi’s historically low unemployment rates and the tools behind it

STARKVILLE, Miss. (WCBI) — Career Days and job fairs wouldn’t be happening if there weren’t jobs to offer.

That’s exactly what Mississippi has seen, to the point where the state is experiencing some of the lowest unemployment rates ever recorded.

We’ve come a long way from searching the want ads in the newspaper.

Now, companies are working with the state to make sure their job openings are out there, in hopes that Mississippi works.

Thanks to a partnership between N-SPARC and the Department of Employment Security, finding that job is made a lot easier with that app, Mississippi Works...

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Parisi gives NSPARC update at Rotary

STARKVILLE, Miss. — Starkville Rotarians got an update on one of Mississippi State University’s most recognized programs when National Strategic Planning and Analysis Research Center (nSPARC) Director Mimmo Parisi spoke.

Parisi, a member of the Starkville Rotary Club, gave a presentation on the work nSPARC does and the role data science plays in everyday life. Parisi laid out five roles nSPARC fills, coming up with big ideas for data research, creating new technologies and innovations, public policy supporting the use of data...

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Website addresses Mississippi’s food access issue

STARKVILLE, Miss. — The Mississippi Food Insecurity Project recently launched a new website that can shed light on the factors that lead to food insecurity in Mississippi.

A cooperative effort of Mississippi State’s Department of Sociology and the university’s National Strategic Planning and Analysis Research Center, the MFIP website provides current USDA food insecurity data for all 82 counties in Mississippi, along with related socioeconomic factors, food assistance data, local food activities, food store availability, and health data. The website also features an interactive map that allows for easy scanning of this information.

“It’s a really great website because it has hundreds of variables that people can explore,” said Leslie Hossfeld, MFIP director, lead principal investigator and sociology department head at MSU.

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C Spire President Stephen Bye to talk on data-driven business decisions

STARKVILLE, Miss., Sept. 1, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- C Spire President Stephen Bye will be a special guest speaker on the value of using data in business and public policy decisions at the 2017 Data Summit on Sept. 15 at Mississippi State University in Starkville.

Bye will appear along with Breck DeWitt, CTO and Director of K-12 and Higher Education for Dell EMC, top state elected officials and agency heads, business executives and others at the day-long summit featuring presentations, panel discussions, product demonstrations and breakout sessions.

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MSU-hosted data summit features major policymakers, leaders

STARKVILLE, Miss.— Data-driven planning and development, data science, and the value of using data to inform solid policy will take center stage Sept. 15 at the second annual Data Summit, hosted by the National Strategic Planning and Analysis Research Center (NSPARC) at Mississippi State University.

Sessions at the summit will cover a variety of topics, including how data can transform student progress in early education, help build “smart cities” and guide job seekers into fulfilling careers.

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GOLDEN TRIANGLE, Miss. (WCBI News)- Earlier this week, we gave you a story on the appeal of the area and what makes people want to stay and establish their lives, but does the story have the facts to back it up?

We spoke with researchers at the National Strategic Planning and Analysis Research Center, or NSPARC, at Mississippi State, and the numbers show the Golden Triangle as well as the state’s population have the potential for growth.

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Study shows $608M in Starkville retail expenditure

Target and Olive Garden are the two most requested businesses for Starkville , according to a consumer spending survey completed by the National Strategic Planning and Analysis Research Center at Mississippi State University (NSPARC).

However, the two-year study went much deeper than business hopes, and reported that Starkville has more than half a billion in retail expenditures, totaling $608 million. The figure was broken down as follows: $80 million from MSU students, $44 million from MSU faculty and staff, $236 million from Starkville residents, $56 million from MSU alumni and season ticket holders and $192 million from Starkville visitors.

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Video: Starkville Consumer Spending Survey

STARKVILLE,Miss.(WCBI)—Looking toward the future was the theme Friday Morning as Starkville City leaders, MSU students and community members gathered to hear the results of The Starkville Consumer Spending Survey.

The Survey, Conducted by Mississippi State University reports an estimated 608 million dollars is spent annually by residents, visitors, along with university students faculty and staff.

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Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves talks data, governmental decisions at Mississippi State data summit | Dispatch

For Mississippi Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves, accurate data is a crucial key to governing effectively. Reeves spoke on data and how it can drive the state toward future successes on Friday at The Mill at MSU conference center in Starkville. Mississippi State University hosted the "Mississippi: A Data Driven State" summit throughout the day, drawing state leaders in economic development, education and government to the conference center. The summit featured several speakers and panels, as well as afternoon breakout sessions that addressed data in government, workforce development and education. MSU President Mark Keenum, who introduced Reeves for his address, said technology plays a crucial role in data gathering and management. "The state of Mississi ppi has some of the most outstanding computational capability of any state in the nation," Keenum said.

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How data can give state taxpayers more bang for their buck | Mississippi Today

How can legislators, education policy makers and members of the business community use quantitative data to make decisions? That was the question being grappled with Friday in Starkville on the campus of Mississippi State University. Specifically, the "Data in Education and Workforce Training" panel discussed how the state uses a wide array of data from various agencies to better understand the problems facing Mississippi's workforce and other areas. "We're changing the mindset on how we are spending your tax dollars -- from what are we spending to what are we buying? What is the return on investment?" House Speaker Phillip Gunn, R-Clinton, said.

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First Ever 'Data Summit' Brings Lawmakers Together at Mississippi State | WCBI-TV

"We wanna make sure that we're only investing those programs that are working and we also wanna make sure that we're investing in things that are gonna make Mississippi to be a better place long term, to raise a family and to also to invest capital and create jobs," says Lieutenant Governor Tate Reeves. Reeves was one of the keynote speakers at a data summit in Starkville at The Mill at MSU on Friday. "It's a relatively new phenomenon in Jackson but it's something that's very important. My background is in economics and finance, and I made lots and lots of investment decisions over my life based upon information and data and so they're doing a great job here at Mississippi State University," says Reeves.

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Inaugural 'Mississippi – A Data Driven State Data Summit' announced

Jackson, MS—Today the Mississippi Department of Employment Security and Mississippi State University's National Strategic Planning and Analysis Research Center (NSPARC) announced Mississippi’s inaugural Data Summit, scheduled for Sept. 23 at The Mill at MSU Conference Center, 600 Russell Street in Starkville.

Data is a number one buzzword and the 2016 Data Summit will include new strategies, tools and solutions to drive ROI for your data initiatives — whether you are a local, regional, or state planner.

This forum will explore and highlight opportunities and organizations active in the area of economic, civic and educational success and identify effective ways to bring together professionals, industry experts and leading researchers in the field of data analytics.

The 2016 Data Summit will feature speakers including Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves, members of the Mississippi Legislature, and state agencies. The event is hosted by the State Longitudinal Data System, known as LifeTracks, of which Mark Henry, executive director of the Mississippi Department of Employment Security, is the vice-chair. NSPARC manages LifeTracks for the state of Mississippi, and is coordinating the event. Mississippi is proving to be a leader in the nation to be first in technology and claiming the honor as a data driven state.

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Society honors MSU’s Parisi with research excellence award

STARKVILLE, Miss.--The Rural Sociological Society (RSS) honored the executive director of Mississippi State’s National Strategic Planning and Analysis Research Center (NSPARC) with its 2016 Excellence in Research Award during the organization’s annual meeting in Toronto on Tuesday [Aug. 9].

“At the end of the day, I wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for the Rural Sociological Society,” Domenico “Mimmo” Parisi said.

In the early 1990s, Parisi emigrated from Italy to the United States knowing very little English. However, he soon won an RSS award for best student paper.

In accepting the 2016 research award, the MSU sociology professor expressed a commitment to being as generous as the society that changed his life.

“Today, I am a proud American and a well-regarded citizen who has fully lived the American dream,” Parisi said at the end of his acceptance speech.

“It’s [the award] truly a reminder of giving back everything that I have received from all of you,” he said.

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Press Release: Nissan's Economic Impact in Mississippi Continues to Show Strong Growth

Move Mississippi Forward recently held a press conference to discuss the economic impact of Nissan over the past three years.

Nissan North America’s Canton Manufacturing Facility continues to have a significant economic impact in Mississippi according to a research study conducted by the National Strategic Planning and Analysis Research Center (NSPARC) at Mississippi State University.

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Study: Nissan continues to pay off for Mississippi | The Clarion-Ledger

Nissan's Canton automotive plant "profoundly changed the face of Mississippi," and the state continues to benefit from the jobs, taxes and spin-off growth it has spawned, business and community leaders said Thursday. It also brought Mississippi into the national economic development arena, and into the big taxpayer-funded incentives game. Move Mississippi Forward on Thursday released "Nissan Canton: A Catalyst for Advanced Automotive Manufacturing in Mississippi," a follow-up to a 2013 study that looked at the economic impact of Nissan. The research was done by the National Strategic Planning and Analysis Research Center at Mississippi State University.

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Thirteen years later: Nissan drives economic growth | Mississippi Today

Since opening its plant in 2003, Nissan Canton has directly created 6,400 jobs, according to a study conducted by Mississippi State University's National Strategic Planning and Analysis Research Center. The study also found that since the vehicle assembly plant opened, populations in Madison, Leake and Rankin counties have increased significantly. However, between 2000 and 2015, Holmes and Hinds counties lost a collective 11,000 residents. Dr. Domenico "Mimmo" Parisi, professor and executive director of the center that conducted the study, explained this is typical: "When you have a major industry like Nissan move into an area in the state, it is common to see population growth as people move in looking for jobs and shorter travel times."

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New Study By MSU's NSPARC Gauges Nissan's Continued Impact On State | WCBI-TV

Nissan North America's Canton Manufacturing Facility continues to have a significant economic impact in Mississippi according to a research study conducted by the National Strategic Planning and Analysis Research Center at Mississippi State University. Nissan, which opened in 2003, currently employs more than 6,000 Mississippians and creates an additional 2.9 jobs for every job at Nissan. The NSPARC research shows approximately 25,000 direct and indirect jobs have been created throughout Mississippi as a result of Nissan. "With the arrival of Nissan in 2003, Mississippi has become globally competitive," NSPARC Executive Director Mimmo Parisi said.

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MSU, Starkville partner on retail survey

STARKVILLE, Miss. (WTVA) -- The city of Starkville has partnered with the National Strategic Planning and Analysis Research Center (NSPARC) at Mississippi State.

“We have to basically determine what is the buying power of our students, faculty and staff, the local residents of course, and our visitors," NSPARC Executive Director Dr. Mimmo Parisi said.

The first wave of the study focused on MSU students but now research students at NSPARC are calling residents to get feedback.

“We’re trying to gauge the buying power of these individuals but we’re also asking them what types of places they go to and maybe the types of restaurants and stores they frequent and perhaps the ones they would be interested in having," Brent Lee said.

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NSPARC consumer survey in final phases

STARKVILLE, MS A survey gauging community interests in future stores and restaurants, analyzing spending patterns and to gain insight on the collective buying power of the Starkville community is almost complete.

The survey is the first of its kind for the city, and Mississippi State University's National Strategic Planning and Analysis Center is conducting the study in partnership with the city and Greater Starkville Development Partnership. Data will be used to inform local, regional and state decision makers and economic development leaders on Starkville's prospects of attracting new growth and future businesses.

The study was prompted by NSPARC and city officials seeing the success of a similar consumer study conducted in Tuscaloosa. By compiling a more in-depth survey, NSPARC can better pinpoint the economic viability of the Starkville community, according to NSPARC Executive Director Domenico Parisi.

"When we are trying to bring a high-end retail service and large retailer, it's very hard to make the case for those businesses that we do have the buying power to meet the demand of the particular services with census data," Parisi said. "It excludes students and only sees Starkville as residents."

NSPARC is a research unit at MSU that uses smart data, analytical techniques and advanced technology to develop research-based solutions.

Started in March, NSPARC researchers completed the first wave of the study by surveying MSU students, faculty and staff, along with alumni and donors. Researchers are currently reaching out to randomly selected Starkville residents and visitors to finish the last phase of research.

"The survey will be a powerful data tool to be used by the city, partnership and MSU," NSPARC Communications Manager Carol Gifford said.

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STARKVILLE, Miss. (WCBI) – Finding out what residents like best, and where they like to spend money are keys to helping a town grow.

To get those answers, Starkville and Mississippi State’s National Strategic Planning and Analysis Research Center are working together to engage in the buying power of the community through a survey.

The survey is for local residents, MSU students, faculty, and visitors to give the city an edge in luring new stores to the region.

The survey kicked off in April, and research experts say it’s off to a great start.

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WTVA Video: MSU alumni discuss research on women chefs

MISSISSIPPI STATE UNIVERSITY, Miss (WTVA) -- A Mississippi State Univeristy alumna returns to campus to discuss her work that has garnered media attention and favorable reviews.

Deborah Harris discuss and sign copies of “Taking the Heat: Women Chefs and Gender Inequality in the Professional Kitchen” at The Mill at MSU.

"Men are describe as geneses where women chefs are often talked about how homie, nutrition, and nurturing their food is which is really important but at the same time within the industry that's not seen as invaded and worthy of an award or attention," said Associate Professor Dr. Deborah Harris.

The University’s Department of Sociology, Gender Studies Program and National Strategic Planning and Analysis Research Center sponsored the presentation.

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MSU Diversity Award winners announced

STARKVILLE, Miss.—Nearly a dozen Mississippi State students, faculty and staff members are being recognized for individual and group actions during the school year that served to enhance university diversity.

Honorees include:

—Domenico “Mimmo” Parisi, Faculty Award. A professor of demography and applied statistics in the sociology department for nearly 20 years, he is founder and executive director of MSU’s National Strategic Planning and Analysis Research Center where diversity is part of the intellectual environment and 20 distinct languages are spoken. A Pennsylvania State University doctoral graduate, Parisi’s research on diversity and racial residential segregation has appeared in top peer-reviewed journals, as well as in the Stanford Center on Poverty and Inequality’s 2016 State of the Union report.

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MSU alumna to discuss research on women chefs, gender inequality in the professional kitchen

STARKVILLE, Miss.—A Mississippi State alumna returns to campus next month to discuss her work that has garnered media attention and favorable reviews.

Deborah Harris will discuss and sign copies of “Taking the Heat: Women Chefs and Gender Inequality in the Professional Kitchen” (Rutgers University Press) on April 5 at The Mill at MSU beginning at 6 p.m.

The university’s Department of Sociology, Gender Studies Program and National Strategic Planning and Analysis Research Center are sponsoring the presentation that is free and open to the public.

A Mississippi State doctoral graduate in sociology, Harris is an associate professor of sociology at Texas State University, where she studies gender dynamics in professional kitchens. She and Texas State colleague Patti Giuffre co-wrote “Taking the Heat.”

“I am extremely proud of Deborah’s work,” said Domenico “Mimmo” Parisi, NSPARC executive director and sociology professor at MSU.

“Her book has made her a star in sociology,” he said.

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WCBI Video: New Starkville Strategy Is Taking Off

New Starkville Strategy Is Taking Off With Help From Mississippi State's NSPARC | WCBI-TV Starkville is trying something new to get more booming through a survey done by residents, students, and alumnus. The survey and its results will be used to inform local, regional, and state decision makers, and economic leaders on Starkville's potential to attract new business. The results from the survey will show possible retailers the buying power of Starkville. The idea for the survey comes from the business boom Tuscaloosa saw from this approach. The survey is being done by Mississippi State's National Strategic Planning and Analysis Center, and will take a few months to get all of the results in.

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City’s first public opinion survey to analyze consumer interests

STARKVILLE, Miss.—The first public opinion consumer survey for the City of Starkville will soon be conducted to gauge community stakeholder interest in future retail establishments, analyze spending patterns, and learn more about overall customer behavior.

Led by Mississippi State University’s National Strategic Planning and Analysis Center, the survey and its accompanying data will be used to inform local, regional and state decision makers and economic development leaders on Starkville’s potential to attract new business.

“The quality of life in Starkville and Oktibbeha County is a key component in recruiting the highest caliber students, faculty and staff to Mississippi State,” said MSU President Mark E. Keenum. “New and improved retail shopping opportunities are important to existing members of our community as well as those we hope will join us in the future. This joint effort between the university and local government is an important step forward in maximizing those new community-building opportunities.”

NSPARC, a research unit at MSU that uses smart data, analytical techniques, and advanced technology to develop innovative research-based solutions, will lead the mixed-mode survey, contacting selected groups by phone and/or e-mail. The survey is expected to begin at the end of March and continue through June.

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State Leaders Hope Workforce Training Bill Will Create More Jobs

"Alright it is law," said Governor Phil Bryant as he signed Senate Bill 2808, otherwise known as the Mississippi Works Fund, into law at a ceremony at the Capitol yesterday. The program will take surplus money from the state's unemployment compensation fund and give it to community colleges for workforce development and training.

The Governor says the fund shows business and industry leaders that Mississippi is committed to creating a well-trained workforce.

"We need people who can work in the automobile industry and the aerospace industry and coding, information technology industries," says Bryant. "These are people we are looking for to put in these jobs, and this bill will help do that."

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Workforce Data Explained: Data Attracts Business in Mississippi

Dr. Domenico "Mimmo" Parisi of Mississippi's NSPARC talks to WDQC

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WCBI Video: App Aims to Keep Mississippi Talent Close to Home

Why is the younger population in Mississippi, not wanting to stay after they graduate college? Jobs.

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WCBI Video: Court Records Going Online Today

PONTOTOC, Mississippi — Three Rivers Planning & Development District in conjunction with Mississippi State University’s National Strategic Planning & Analysis Research Center (NSPARC) launched the County Records Management System (CRMS) online today for the circuit, county and chancery courts of Lee County, Mississippi.

CRMS is the computerized document filing system that the chancery and circuit clerks use to electronically file all land and court records that come into the county. It handles all land records such as deeds, deeds of trust, power of attorneys, etc., as well as court cases such as estates, probates and divorces on the chancery side, and civil and criminal cases on the circuit side. Boards of Supervisors minutes can also be recorded in the same manner on this system. These records are uploaded into the system and indexed so they can be searched in the record rooms at the county courthouse. This system also allows the records to be backed up by the county to an additional server in case of hardware failure and is also replicated to Three Rivers Data Center in Tupelo in case of a disaster. CRMS leverages open source technologies that allows for conversion, support, training and maintenance at a fraction of the cost of applications built on proprietary technologies. Three Rivers and MSU have both made substantial investments in the CRMS project.

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WTVA: Lee County legal documents now available online

TUPELO, Miss. (WTVA) -- All legal documents held at the Lee County Circuit, County and Chancery Courts are now available online. Just on Monday, Three Rivers Planning and Development District launched the County Records Management System. CRMS is a computerized document filing system, that the courts use to file all land and court records that come in. "Banks, attorney's, or anyone who has a desire to access them, they will be available," said Lee County Chancery Clerk, Bill Benson. There are other locations in North Mississippi who currently have court documents online, like Lafayette County, and the Golden Triangle.

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NSPARC Works with State Officials to Develop Workforce Data Plan

STARKVILLE, Miss.--An interdisciplinary research center at Mississippi State worked with the Governor’s Office and State Workforce Investment Board to develop a new plan that every state is now required to submit to the U.S. Department of Labor.

NSPARC at MSU was an integral part of Mississippi’s team, according to NSPARC Executive Director Domenico “Mimmo” Parisi.

“We provided the necessary research and technological solutions to integrate data systems across programs to enable seamless service delivery and support case management. By integrating systems, performance can be better measured,” he said.

The new requirement is part of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, a federal workforce development program that requires states to submit plans that are then reviewed and approved by officials for funding. State plans must show how workforce training initiatives between different agencies, such as workforce development boards, education entities, and state agencies, will be integrated under a comprehensive vision.

In his State of the State address Tuesday [Jan. 26], Gov. Phil Bryant noted that Mississippi is the first state to submit a WIOA plan to the U.S. Department of Labor.

Parisi presented the group’s work to other state teams working on WIOA plans during a national conference in Washington, D.C., this week.

Parisi said workforce training can address the needs of people from all walks of life. A job seeker might be seeking adult basic education services to get trained to fill a middle-skill job, a category of job that accounts for about 60 percent of all available positions in Mississippi. An employee may need to be retrained to pursue a different career path. Individuals with disabilities may need access to rehabilitation services. People who receive public assistance could need training in several areas to pursue job opportunities.

“The model for common case management submitted in Mississippi’s WIOA plan will offer workforce training for people at different points in their work life,” Parisi said.

“It will allow job seekers to access services seamlessly,” he added.

Parisi explained that the NSPARC team’s research is an example of the university’s capacity to address complex issues and to work with state officials to find innovative solutions.

“As part of a land-grant institution, we are committed to make what we do relevant to the state and beyond,” Parisi said.

NSPARC researchers present at Reno conference

A team of Mississippi State researchers presented research at the Association for Science Teacher Education international meeting in Reno, Nev., last week [Jan. 7-9]. The four presentations included studies produced by National Strategic Planning and Analysis Research Center (NSPARC), an MSU interdisciplinary research center that uses smart data, analytical techniques and advanced technology to develop innovative solutions, often for policymakers and state government.

“Our research focuses on science education or curriculum and science educators/teachers and how both are influenced by testing, standards and other accountability measures,” said Ryan Walker, NSPARC faculty fellow and assistant professor in the Department of Curriculum, Instruction, and Special Education at MSU.

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MPB Mississippi Edition

For a feature story on MPB’s Mississippi Edition, Dr. Domenico “Mimmo” Parisi was interviewed about NSPARC’s innovative research by host Karen Brown. The story aired on Dec. 11. 

‘Culture determines success,’ Camgian’s Gary Butler tells NSPARC

WEST POINT, Miss. – A great culture is the engine that determines whether or not a business is going to be successful, said Camgian Microsystems CEO Gary Butler.

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NSPARC Researchers Explain Data for Economic Development

STARKVILLE, Miss. – Mississippi economic development teams learned about data that can help local regions attract and recruit new industries this week. The data workshop, sponsored by the Mississippi Economic Development Council, was presented at The Mill at MSU by faculty and researchers at NSPARC, an MSU interdisciplinary research center that uses smart data, analytical techniques and advanced technology to develop innovative solutions, often for policymakers and state government.

“We showed how we can use data to support economic development within the state,” said Dr. Ryan Walker, NSPARC faculty fellow and assistant professor in the Department of Curriculum, Instruction, and Special Education (CISE). “We showed them resources available to them, specifically through LifeTracks, the state longitudinal data system (SLDS), that they can use to make a better case for their local region.”

Walker was one team member participating in the workshop, along with NSPARC Executive Director Dr. Domenico “Mimmo” Parisi. Walker, who leads research at NSPARC on projects about understanding the education pipeline, or how students and others are educated through schooling and other avenues to prepare for careers. He said information on education and workforce training is often key data that industry sectors want to know.

“If we want to recruit industry to a local region, we need to show we have a population ready to work and that we can fill any workforce gaps for a prospective employer with targeted education and training based on the industry’s needs.

“An essential economic development plan will include a detailed understanding of the educational pipeline, industry needs, and strong local partnerships. A knowledge of the education pipeline is essential to show companies that we have knowledgeable, skilled workers ready to fill positions,” Walker said.

In Mississippi, economic development teams are fortunate to have a lot of available data, he said.

“Our state is significantly ahead of other states in collecting data through the SLDS [state longitudinal data system],” said Walker. “NSPARC manages the SLDS data, and because of these available resources, we are an economic development engine.

“We don’t have to rely on national data. We can synthesize our state data and tell the Mississippi story to attract industries to come here.”

The goal, said Walker, is to get economic developers to think about, understand and use data to improve the Mississippi workforce ecosystem and education and training opportunities across the state.

For more about NSPARC, visit Walker may be reached at 662-325-9242. MSU, Mississippi’s flagship research institution, is online at

Video: MSU Data Workshop At The Mill

STARKVILLE, Miss.(WCBI)–Accessing the right data could make or break a new or existing business.

A Data Conference held at the Mill at MSU Conference Center in Starkville is adding up to a successful gathering of students, company representatives, and entrepreneurs.

NSPARC looks to attract development to Mississippi


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NSPARC team introduces research to 8th graders at Biloxi expo

BILOXI, Miss.—Team members from Mississippi State University’s National Strategic Planning and Analysis Research Center spent part of this week introducing research to 8th grade students at the Pathways2Possibilities (P2P) career expo at the Mississippi Coast Convention Center in Biloxi.

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New report: Energy security is viable through use of CO2-EOR

STARKVILLE, Miss.—Using CO2-EOR as a framework could lead to energy security and result in a new United States energy policy, according to a new report released today [Nov. 4] by the National Strategic Planning and Analysis Research Center (NSPARC), a research unit at Mississippi State University. CO2-EOR is a process that provides a way to use CO2 to recover oil still trapped in the ground.

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Released Reports

Governor Bryant Visits NSPARC: The Mill Grand Opening

STARKVILLE, Miss. – Gov. Phil Bryant and other distinguished guests toured the new office space for NSPARC, a research unit at MSU, as part of the grand opening ceremony for The Mill today.

“We teach our students competencies to help them find a job when they graduate,” NSPARC Executive Director Dr. Domenico “Mimmo” Parisi said to the governor. NSPARC is a research unit at MSU that uses smart data, analytical techniques and advanced technology to develop innovative research-based solutions, often for policymakers and state government.

“That’s a pretty important priority,” said Bryant. “This great research university will be a part of their future, and I want these students to know that we’re here for you, too.

“What’s good for Mississippi State is good for Mississippi. We’re on our way to show people all over that our vision results in action. Mississippi is a new dynamic state to live in.”

The Mill has a history and design reflecting the state, said Bryant, just like “Mississippi has a strong past and a bright future.”

“Last year 22 million visitors came to visit a state of 3 million people,” said Bryant. “In the future, they will come here to visit The Mill – and leave here amazed.”

The Mill at MSU is a $40 million world-class mixed-use facility that includes the NSPARC office, a conference center and a ballroom. It is a “doorstep to our university and a hub for continued economic growth and development,” said Mississippi State University President Mark E. Keenum.

“Today is the opening of a 21st century reconfiguration of the mill,” said Dr. David Shaw, MSU’s vice president for research and economic development, who led MSU’s participation in The Mill partnership.

The Mill is a hub for continued economic growth and development as illustrated by NSPARC’s work and presence in the building, said Keenum.

“NSPARC has wonderful facilities, state-of-the-art technology, for doing unbelievable research for our state and our nation,” said Keenum.

NSPARC’s office space includes several original features from the 1902 cotton mill, including large windows, wood support columns, brick walls and a water tower. In addition, the office has advanced technology to power its work with data analytics and software development, such as 34 miles of Ethernet cabling that connects to offices and workstations, physical computers and virtual desktop computers. There are five separate conference rooms, all with voice-over IP (phone over the internet) and cloud-based teleconferencing. The three largest conference rooms, seating 14 to 18 people and with two to four large monitors, can be used by outside groups.

Miss. Congressman Gregg Harper, another guest who toured NSPARC, said the new building preserves the treasure of history.

“I got to see the tower section of this building in NSPARC and realized that it was actually a water tower, part of a technologically advanced system that used gravity to collect water,” said Harper.

Starkville Mayor Parker Wiseman said he’s talked about the The Mill project every month for the past six years, and it’s culminated in one of the nicest conference centers that he’s seen.

“You walk in here and feel the personality of something,” said Wiseman. “This is a project that has changed a whole town.”

Developer Mark Castleberry said that he appreciated the opportunity to lead the public/private partnership in which he was like “an air traffic controller trying to keep everything from crashing and burning.”

“We created a building where we can discuss research, share ideas, and celebrate discoveries,” said Castleberry. “We are open for business.”

MSU research center helps introduce eighth-graders to research

STARKVILLE, Miss.—More than 3,300 eighth-grade students from seven Northeast Mississippi counties are back in class after having an opportunity to get the latest information on potential career pathways.

Accompanied by 1,000 teachers, they were participants in “Imagine the Possibilities,” a recent two-day exposition at Tupelo’s Bancorp South Center sponsored by Three Rivers Planning and Development District.

If based solely on the students’ reactions, the highly organized introduction to career opportunities clearly was a success, said Bill Renick, planning district director. “You could see the students’ excitement as they visited the displays,” he said.

Among the presentations was a display of the National Strategic Planning and Analysis Research Center at Mississippi State University. A participant in the expo’s government and public administration category, the NSPARC program featured examples of its nationally recognized work with smart data, analytical techniques and advanced technologies.

“These students’ future will include advanced technology,” Renick said. “NSPARC’s exhibit explained how computers and technology are a combination that is likely to be part of their future jobs.”

Domenico “Mimmo” Parisi, the center’s executive director, said his organization focuses on “research in general and specifically how NSPARC’s research includes the use of data to help state officials and agencies make better decisions.

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Federal grant enables MSU-led study of early childhood data

STARKVILLE, Miss.—A recent $6.5 million federal grant is supporting a Mississippi State-led examination of best practices in early-childhood educational services.
Funding for the award comes from the U.S. Department of Education’s Institute of Education Sciences to the Mississippi Department of Education and the university’s National Strategic Planning and Analysis Research Center.

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Dr. Parisi Visits Washington, D.C. to Talk about Smart Data

Dr. Domenico "Mimmo" Parisi was in Washington, D.C. Wednesday and Thursday to speak to Congressional members and staff about the importance of using appropriate data to help show improvements in education and workforce outcomes. The focus, said Parisi, is to move from the mindless use of big data to smart data. Parisi was attending a Workforce Data Quality Campaign conference.

NSPARC is the leading organization in the country in the development of methods and analytical tools for the implementation of smart data in state government.

The Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway can be gateway to global economy

STARKVILLE, Miss. – The Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway is an engine for economic development with great potential for future growth, said Domenico “Mimmo” Parisi, executive director of the National Strategic Planning and Analysis Research Center, or NSPARC, a research unit of Mississippi State University.

Parisi’s remarks, delivered Thursday [Aug. 27] at the Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway Development Opportunities Conference in Point Clear, Ala., were based on a recent economic analysis of the Tenn-Tom Waterway produced by NSPARC.

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NSPARC Hosts Open House in New Office

The latest significant event in NSPARC’s history occurred on Aug. 7, when employees and their families and friends celebrated NSPARC’s new second floor location at the Mill at Mississippi State University. The new location, adjacent to the MSU campus, is in a restored cotton mill on Russell St. in Starkville.

Dr. Domenico “Mimmo” Parisi, NSPARC executive director, along with other speakers at the event and staff meeting, explained what it means for NSPARC to move into an office space that was custom-designed for the research center. This move represented the culmination of his childhood dream to “do something big” and move to America.

“Growing up in Italy, I told my father that I wanted to go to America and become a professor,” said Parisi. “He couldn’t understand it, but today represents the fulfillment of that dream.”

After years of being located in less attractive office buildings, such as an old sorority house and a former industrial plant, moving into the new office space is an achievement that was unimaginable when NSPARC began its research with small projects and budgets, said Parisi. The new office space brings together both the research staff and the polling center, formerly located in different buildings.

“Today, we conduct research for partners across the state and country,” said Parisi. “Our research is used by policymakers to look at outcomes and help design and evaluate programs for workforce development, education, and economic development.

“Other partners ask us to provide economic analyses that can be used to help attract new businesses to locate in Mississippi, such as the Yokohama plant and the expansion of Toyota,” said Parisi.

When Mike Taquino, deputy executive director at NSPARC, first suggested the idea of doing research that could make a difference in people’s lives, Parisi said he was not sure how it would work. It is hard to believe that NSPARC would grow into a center that specializes in work that connects academic research to real-world issues and is used and respected by partners throughout the country, said Parisi.

The impact of NSPARC’s research in the university and at the state level is impressive, said MSU College of Arts and Sciences Dean Greg Dunaway. The data-driven research produced by NSPARC brings recognition to MSU, enhancing the university’s research role.

Another way NSPARC impacts MSU is in its offering of research opportunities to students, said Seth Oppenheimer, professor of mathematics and director of undergraduate research for MSU’s Shackouls Honors College. Oppenheimer said NSPARC’s support of honors students help expand learning opportunities for them and provide assistance for study abroad programs.

Taquino and Steve Grice, deputy executive director at NSPARC, introduced NSPARC and its mission. Jonathan Barlow, a software architect at NSPARC, was selected randomly from a hat of employee names to cut the ribbon to open the new space.

MSU researcher: U.S. racial residential segregation evolving

STARKVILLE, Miss.–Racial residential segregation in the United States is changing its form. A new study co-authored by Mississippi State sociology professor Domenico “Mimmo” Parisi finds that, while neighborhood segregation declined between 1990-2010, segregation between suburbs and suburbs and central cities increasingly shifted the geography of exclusion from neighborhood-to-neighborhood to place-to-place.

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NSPARC Plays Key Role in $20 Million Grant to State

NSPARC's Dr. Mimmo Parisi was part of Miss. Gov. Phil Bryant's recent press conference where the Governor announced that Mississippi has been awarded a $20.5 M workforce program for SNAP recipients. Read more about the grant in a recent MSU press release.

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Launch of CO2-EOR Congressional Caucus

Mimmo Parisi: Happy to be part of this event today promoting CO2-EOR New Caucus. WASHINGTON, DC – On Tuesday, March 17, 2015, U.S. Representatives Michael Conaway (R-Texas), Marc Veasey (D-Texas), and Gregg Harper (R-Miss.) will host a launch event for the newly formed Congressional Carbon Dioxide Enhanced Oil Recovery (CO2-EOR) Caucus.

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Gov. Phil Bryant Visits NSPARC

Gov. Phil Bryant visited NSPARC today and talked about the valuable work done by NSPARC in workforce training research for the state of Mississippi. He said NSPARC’s research is helpful to the legislature and the governor as they make important decisions about funding programs that are effective.

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2015 Manufacturing Summit

Gov. Phil Bryant: "Since last year, the Mississippi furniture industry has created 595 jobs and has $4.4 million in private sector investment," at today's Annual Furniture Manufacturing Summit at MSU.

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