20 ‘high-paying’ jobs on way to ERDC

Published 12:25 am Sunday, April 13, 2014

An emerging research program at the U.S. Army Engineering Research and Development Center that picked up the state as a partner last week is more than just another initiative,  ERDC officials said.

They hope it’s a job creator and a development tool for Vicksburg.

Slated to start July 1, the proposed Institute for Systems Engineering Research at ERDC would jumpstart research in Engineered Resilient Systems, a science and technology effort by the Department of Defense geared to streamlining the engineering design process.

Last week, the Mississippi Legislature set aside $1 million of the $23 million appropriated for the Mississippi Development Authority next year for the Corps’ research and development arm. Senate Bill 2881 provided the money for ERS, which for one year will help ERDC hire up to 10 post-doctoral researchers to work in Vicksburg. In all, the first phase of ERDC’s partnership with the state will produce 20 new, high-paying jobs, said Dr. Jeffrey P. Holland, the center’s executive director.

“This partnership between the State of Mississippi, ERDC, and Mississippi State University holds great promise for economic development in Vicksburg,” Holland said. “The potential for expanded development in Vicksburg is outstanding.”

The program’s start in Vicksburg represents a “unique opportunity” for the city to attract jobs in similar areas, state Sen. Briggs Hopson III said. Hopson was key in including the ERDC language into the MDA bill.

The effort also engages Mississippi State University’s research team, Holland said.

“The technical expertise brought to the institute by Mississippi State University is exceptional. Dr. David Shaw, vice-president for research at MSU, is an extraordinary leader within the state of Mississippi.”

The added staff is expected to produce more alternatives in less time before DOD acquires defense and logistics systems, according to a breakdown of the program. Researchers will be able to look at current and new missions and how compatible they are with evolving tactics, techniques and procedures, it said.