The Mississippi Manufacturers Association (MMA) has named James Williams as Executive Director of the Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP). Williams replaced Dr. John “Jay” Tice IV, who retired January 31, 2019. The MMA-MEP is one of 51 centers that provides services to assist manufacturers in being globally competitive and is sponsored in Mississippi by the MMA.
MMA President and CEO Jay C. Moon said, “I am pleased to welcome James to the association. He brings years of workforce development and federal program management, and work with Mississippi’s manufacturers. I have no doubt he will represent our state’s manufacturing community in this new role.”
Williams is the former Executive Director of the Governor’s State Workforce Investment Board (SWIB). In that role, he oversaw the Board’s responsibilities for the development and implementation of a statewide strategic workforce plan, ongoing analysis of workforce needs for both business and job seekers, and the development of policies, programs and recommendations to improve the workforce system.
Prior to his SWIB appointment, Williams was the Vice President of Economic and Community Services at Itawamba Community College. He was responsible for workforce training and services, which involved the operation of four WIN Job Centers. Williams provided the vision and leadership for the Manufacturing Solutions Center, an innovative approach to demand-driven training and business services. He was also chair of the management committee for the Mississippi Corridor Consortium.
During his over 30 years’ in the community college system, Williams was instrumental in establishing several successful programs for youth including the Counseling to Career Program, 21st Century Skills labs, and the Mobile Career Exploration Laboratory for high school students in the area of advanced manufacturing. He also assisted with the development of the Advanced Manufacturing Technician Program with Toyota and the first Small Business Administration Center at Northeast Mississippi Community College.
Williams graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in business and a Master in Business Administration degree from Southeastern Louisiana University.