Cooperative Competes grant was awarded to Pearl River Community College for assistance in the construction of the Hancock Aviation Aerospace Workforce Academy.

Hattiesburg, Miss. (September 24, 2019) — Cooperative Energy, together with the 11 Member distribution cooperatives it serves, announced the award of two Cooperative Competes grants to assist with diverse projects in Hancock County.

The first grant was awarded to Pearl River Community College for assistance in the construction of the Hancock Aviation Aerospace Workforce Academy near Stennis International Airport. The state of the art Academy intends to meet industry demands, while increasing workforce development in Hancock County and the surrounding region. The Academy will consist of a 25,000 square foot training facility as well as a 15,000 square foot hangar adjacent to the airport runway.

“Pearl River Community College and Hancock County Port and Harbor Commission have led the charge in the development of this much needed specialized facility,” said Ron Barnes, president and CEO of Coast Electric. “As the electric distribution provider in the area, we are excited to partner with a facility that will directly aid the workforce needs of our members and the community we serve.”

The $25,000 Cooperative Competes grant will aid in site preparation, engineering services, and industrial park signage of the Academy’s hangar at Stennis International Airport. The hangar facility will house the Airframe & Propulsion Technology, Unmanned Aerial Systems, Commercial Flight Pilot Training, and Precision Manufacturing programs.

The second Cooperative Competes grant was awarded to the Hancock County Port and Harbor Commission for engineering and site due diligence of recently acquired industrial property. The $25,000 Cooperative Competes grant will assist in the development of a technical plan to design the infrastructure and best use development of approximately 850 acres adjacent to Stennis International Airport along Highway 603 and Interstate 10.

“Hancock County Port and Harbor Commission CEO, Bill Cork, said “Hancock County is experiencing significant industrial growth and we forecast this trend to continue.  Cooperative Energy, along with their member cooperative Coast Electric, are great partners; and these investments will help ensure our future success”.

The Cooperative Competes grant to Hancock County Port and Harbor Commission accentuates a previously awarded $250,000 site development grant from the Mississippi Development Authority.

Jim Compton, Cooperative Energy CEO, says he is encouraged to see the Cooperative Competes initiative being implemented as intended. “The initiative represents a commitment to continue fostering growth within our Members’ service territories, and proactive investments such as these will benefit our region for decades to come,” said Compton.

The Cooperative Competes initiative, aimed at increasing product and community competitiveness, was unveiled in early 2019. A component of the initiative allows economic development organizations, or the recognized authority, to apply for grant funds to offset industrial property development costs. These funds are provided jointly by Cooperative Energy’s 11 Member distribution cooperatives. Eligible uses include industrial site preparation, environmental due diligence studies, a portion of the local match for Mississippi Development Authority’s Site Development Grant Program, or other property development needs. A local funding match is typically required for Cooperative Competes grants.

For more information about Cooperative Energy’s Cooperative Competes initiative, visit

About Cooperative Energy
Cooperative Energy generates and transmits electricity to 11 Member-owned electric distribution cooperatives. Known as the Power of 12, Cooperative Energy and its Member cooperatives work together to provide safe, reliable and affordable power from the Mississippi Delta to the Coast. The 11 electric cooperatives own and maintain more than 57,000 miles of distribution lines and provide service to approximately 432,000 homes and businesses throughout 55 counties.