If you scan a room of operators, you'll find a 29 year old USM graduate. "This is Jerry Henderson with Cingular Wireless," the 29 year old said to a caller on the other end.
Henderson is one of the 79 managers who oversee the Ocean Springs call center. He's eligible for a new master's program being offered at USM Gulf Coast. "I always believe that an education is a key to success," he said.
Dr. Shelby Thames is USM's president. "You've told us what you need. And we're here to deliver," he said to a crowd of Jackson County leaders.
Thames held a news conference at USM's Gulf Coast Community College building in Gautier. "I'm here to announce today that we offer a Master of Business Administration degree at this site," he said.
Starting this fall, Jackson County students can earn an MBA from USM without driving to Long Beach or Hattiesburg. That's something Jackson County Supervisor Manly Barton has been pushing for. "Every educational opportunity that we have here enhances our ability to sell Jackson County to a business," he said.
It's not just governmental leaders who think that way. Jackson County businesses like Cingular Wireless and Northrop Grumman have been pushing for better educational opportunities closer to their complexes. They believe a master's program taught in Gautier is a perk that can attract and keep top company workers.
Sally Reynolds represented Cingular Wireless at the news conference. "This is a unique opportunity for us all. And we very much intend to grab onto it with both hands," she said.
Registration for the MBA program, or any other course offered by USM Gulf Coast will stay open through the early part of next week.