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MDC has a nearly 50-year history in workforce development at the local, state, regional, and national levels. During that time, MDC has:

  • operated adult and youth programs
  • developed employer-based programming
  • worked closely with community colleges and businesses to align training and local employment needs
  • provided direct technical assistance to local/state/national agencies and organizations
  • developed and disseminated model evaluation practices and procedures
  • developed and demonstrated state and regional technical assistance networks
  • established one of the two first state workforce development councils (NC Manpower Council)
  • researched and developed major federal legislation and state, regional, and national workforce development policy.

MDC is one of few organizations whose work has spanned the four major pieces of federal workforce legislation over the last half of the 20th century: The Manpower Development and Training Act, the Comprehensive Employment and Training Act, the Job Training Partnership Act, and the Workforce Investment Act.

While our workforce development agenda has changed over time due to evolving needs and our increasing expertise, MDC has been consistent in one important way: removing the barriers between people and good jobs. 

The Working Families Success Network (WFSN) approach – formerly known as the Centers for Working Families – at community colleges brings together access to a full range of essential economic supports in a convenient location to help families build self-sufficiency, stabilize their finances, and move ahead. The WFSN approach is especially important for low-income students who face financial hurdles. Many simply cannot afford to stay in school--whether it is because continuing would mean giving up employment, paying the bills, or responding to a crisis.
The Integrated Services Delivery (ISD) Collaborative is a partnership between LISC, MDC, and United Way Worldwide (UWW) to assist low-income working families in achieving economic security through the seamless delivery of services and supports. The ISD Collaborative is supported by a partnership of funders led by the Annie E. Casey Foundation and includes the W.K. Kellogg and Kresge Foundations.
At the request of CREATE, a regional foundation, MDC is helping design an industry-funded, tri-county initiative in Northeast Mississippi to build a career readiness system anchored in K-12, connected to postsecondary education, and accessible to all students to spur local workforce development and living wage jobs. Toyota Wellspring Education Fund created a $50 million endowment and CREATE is providing backbone support to this cross-sector initiative, now in its early stages of development.
The South boasts centers of fast growth, technological innovation, and educational excellence. However, set against this economic vitality are the nation’s lowest mobility and highest poverty rates. By one calculation, more than 50 percent of Americans living in high poverty neighborhoods live in the South. The picture for Southern youth and young adults is especially stark: it is harder in the South than anywhere else in the U.S. for young people in the poorest households to move up the economic ladder as adults.