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Our Metalworking Cluster

  • We have more employees in the following sectors than the average US labor shed by the following percentages:
    • 921% more steel foundries
    • 770% more fabricated structural metal manufacturing
    • 311% more metal tank manufacturing
    • 299% more cleaning, washing, and metal pickling equipment operators
    • 257% more iron foundries
    • 89% more plate work manufacturing
    • 16% more motor vehicle parts manufacturing
    • 13% more hardware manufacturing
  • We have seen growth in employees in our labor shed by the following percentages since 2011:
    • 121% growth in boilermakers
    • 110% growth in motor vehicle parts manufacturing
    • 105% growth in millwrights
    • 60% growth in metal tank manufacturing
    • 30% growth in welders, solderers, and brazers
    • 12% growth in plate work manufacturing
    • 9% growth in fabricated structural metal
    • 9% growth in team assemblers


Proximity to Automotive OEMs


  • 13 Automotive OEMs are located within 325 miles of Wayne County
    • 104 miles- Nissan, Canton, Mississippi
    • 127 miles- Paccar, Columbus, Mississippi
    • 130 miles- Mercedes, Tuscaloosa, Alabama
    • 146 miles- Hyundai, Montgomery, Alabama
    • 189 miles- Toyota, Blue Springs, Mississippi
    • 199 miles- Honda, Lincoln, Alabama
    • 219 miles- Kia, West Point, Georgia
    • 243 miles- Toyota, Huntsville, Alabama
    • 282 miles- Ford, Hapeville, Georgia
    • 297 miles- General Motors, Doraville, Georgia
    • 299 miles- General Motors, Spring Hill, Tennessee
    • 302 miles- Volkswagon, Chattanooga, Tennessee
    • 322 miles- Nissan, Smyrna, Tennessee


Proximity to Aerospace Industries

Aviation Cluster

  • Wayne County is located near the following Aerospace operations which have metalworking suppliers:
    • GE Aviation (Ellisville, Mississippi) - 32 miles
    • Lockheed Martin (Meridian, Mississippi)- 47 miles
    • Airbus (Mobile, Alabama)- 76 miles
    • Northrup Grumman (Moss Point, Mississippi) - 87 miles
    • Boeing (Flowood, Mississippi) - 98 miles
    • Eaton Aerospace (Jackson, Mississippi) - 100 miles 


Metalworking Companies in our Labor Shed

  • 8 Machine Shops
  • 8 Fabricated Structural Metal Manufacturers
  • 4 Sheet Metal Work Manufacturers
  • 3 Farm Machinery and Equipment Manufacturers
  • 3 Metal Tank Manufacturers
  • 2 Motor Vehicle Parts Manufacturers
  • 2 Plate Work Manufacturers
  • 1 Metal Window and Door Manufacturer
  • 1 Fabricated Wire Manufacturer
  • 1 Hardware Manufacturer
  • 1 Iron Foundry
  • 1 Steel Foundry
  • 1 Metal Coater
  • 1 Metal Plater


Skilled Labor

  • There are no unionized facilities in Wayne County
  • Mississippi is a Right-To-Work State
  • We have the following numbers of skilled employees pertinent to Metalworking in our labor shed:OccupationChart manufacturing
    • 1,394 Team Assemblers
    • 1,370 Laborers and Freight, Stock and Materials Movers, Hand
    • 1,134 Maintenance and Repair Workers, General
    • 790 Welders, Cutters, Solderers, and Brazers
    • 573 First Line Supervisors of Production and Operating Workers
    • 395 Electricians
    • 308 Industrial Machinery Mechanics
    • 223 Millwrights
    • 171 Structural Metal Fabricators and Fitters
    • 142 Cutting, Punching, and Press Machine Operators
    • 138 Machinists
    • 133 Industrial Engineers
    • 99 Structural Iron and Steel Workers
    • 98 Sheet Metal workers
    • 95 Electrical and Electronic Engineering Technicians
    • 76 Electrical Engineers
    • 60 Adhesive Bonding Machine Operators
    • 59 Mechanical Engineers 
    • 53 Boilermakers
    • 45 Molding, Coremaking, and Casting Machine Operators
    • 43 Logisticians
    • 34 Plating and Coating Machine Operators
    • 30 Extruding and Drawing Machine Operators
    • 20 Tool and Die Makers
  • Business Facilities Magazine ranked Mississippi the #1 state in the US for competitive labor costs.


Unskilled Labor

  • There are 13 temporary help service companies in the labor shed


Electric Power

  • Mississippi's energy costs are 20% less than the national average.  Industrial properties in Wayne County are served by either Dixie Electric Power or Mississippi Power.
    • Dixie Electric is a non-for-profit, member-owned electric cooperative which serves Wayne County's two industrial parks.
    • Mississippi Power is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Southern Company with a total generation capacity of 3 million kW which serves downtown Waynesboro.


Natural Gas Pipelines

  • The Destin Pipeline, operated by BP, is an interstate gas transmission line which runs through Wayne County with a capacity of 1,200,000 mcfd.
  • Additionally, Wayne County is served by the Chickasawhay Natural Gas District.


Workforce Training

  • The Wayne County Campus of Jones Junior College offers Mig, Stik, and Tig Workforce Welding Classes.
    • The campus also features a customizable, plug and play workforce training area where industrial equipment may be placed into service on which to train employees


  • Jones Junior College Precision Manufacturing and Machining Technology: prepares individuals to shape metal parts on machines such as lathes, grinders, drill presses, and milling machines.  Click here to learn more:


  • Jones Junior College Welding: stresses welding theory, electrode classification and identification, blue-print reading and welding symbol interpretation, plasma and oxyacetylene cutting, and shop safety.  Click here to learn more:


  • Jones Junior College Industrial Electronics Technology/Instrumentation: prepares graduates for a career in the installation, maintenance, testing, and repair of industrial electrical, electronic and instrumentation equipment and systems.  Click here to learn more:


  • The Wayne County Career & Technical Education Center, part of the Wayne County School District, features a Welding Technology program for high school students.
    • First year instruction includes safety, basic math, occupational orientation, hand and power tools, blueprints, Oxy/Fuel operations, and shield metal arc welding.
    • Second year instruction includes different arc welding and cutting principles and practices, along with employabilitiy skills
    • Students can become NCCER certified upon successful completion of the course.
    • Students fabricate trailers and other metal products from scratch as part of the training.


High School Welding Students at the Wayne County Career & Technical Education Center.


Jones County Junior College

    • Offers over 100 academic programs
    • Offers technical programs in the following areas pertinent to the metalworking sector: automotive technology, commercial truck driving, electrical technology, industrial electronics technology/instrumentation, information systems technology, precision manufacturing and machining technology, and welding.


southernMISS University of Southern Mississippi
    • Public research university
    • 15,325 students
    • 6 academic colleges: Arts & Letters, Business, Education & Psychology, Health, Nursing, Science & Technology
    • Located 51 miles from Wayne County


University of South Alabama
    • Public, national research university
    • 16,055 students
    • 10 academic colleges: Allied Health Professions, Arts & Sciences, Business, Education, Engineering, Medicine, Pharmacy, Nursing, Computing, and Continuing Education
    • Located 63 miles from Wayne County



Mississippi State University

    • Mississippi State University has a branch campus in Meridian (38 miles from Wayne County)
    • Degrees include Business, Arts & Sciences, and Education




Highway Access

  • Wayne County is located at the intersection of US 4-laned Highways 45 and 84
  • US Highway 45 is a north-south highway which runs from Lake Superior in Michigan to Mobile, Alabama
  • US Highway 84 is an east-west highway which runs from Colorado to the Atlantic Ocean in Georgia



  • Additionally, Interstates 59, 10, and 20 all lie within 1 hour of Wayne County


  • Wayne County is served by the Meridian Southern Railway, a shortline railroad
  • The Meridian Southern connects to the Class I Kansas City Southern Railway 40 miles from Wayne County in Meridian, Mississippi


Deep Water Ports

  • Wayne County is located 63 miles from the Alabama State Docks, in Mobile, Alabama
  • Alabama State Docks Overview: Over 4 million sq. ft. of warehouse and open yard space, 40 foot deep water
  • Imports into the Alabama State Docks include: Heavy Lift & Oversized Cargo, Containers, Coal, Aluminum, Iron, Steel, Copper, Lumber, Woodpulp, Plywood, Fence Posts, Veneers, Roll and Cut Paper, Cement, and Chemicals.
  • Exports out of the Alabama State Docks include: Heavy Lift & Oversized Cargo, Containers, Coal, Lumber, Plywood, Woodpulp, OSB, Laminate, Flooring, Roll and Cut Paper, Iron, Steel, Frozen Poultry, Soybeans, and Chemicals

    Click here to view the Alabama State Docks website

  • The Port of Pascagoula, located 82 miles from Wayne County, is the largest seaport in the State of Mississippi.  Over 35 million tons move through the port annually.  Inbound cargoes include: Forest Products, Crude Oil, Phosphate Rock, Chemicals, and Aggregate.  Outbound cargoes include: Forest Products, Paper Products, Frozen Poultry, Petroleum Products, Fertilizer, Chemicals, and Project Cargo.

    Click here to view the Port of Pascagoula website.


  • Additionally, Wayne County is located 114 miles from the Port of Gulfport, Mississippi, and 161 miles from the Port of New Orleans






  • Mobile Regional Airport (MOB) located 64 miles from Wayne County offers multiple flights daily to and from Dallas, Atlanta, Chicago, Houston, Charlotte via American, Delta, United, and USAirways Airlines
  • Meridian Regional Airport (MEI) located 38 miles from Wayne County offers 2 American Airlines flights per day to and from Dallas
  • Hattiesburg-Laurel Regional Airport (PIB) located 37 miles from Wayne County offers 2 American Airlines flights per day to and from Dallas



Construction Costs

  • According to RSMeans Construction Cost Data, Wayne County is cheaper than the following:
    • $20/sq. ft. cheaper than the US average to build a manufacturing facility, $27/sq. ft. cheaper to build an office, and $14/sq. ft. cheaper to build a warehouse
    • $2/sq. ft. cheaper to build a manufacturing facility than in Mobile AL, $1/sq. ft. cheaper to build an office, and $1/sq. ft. cheaper to build a warehouse
    • $3/sq. ft. cheaper to build a manufacturing facility than in Memphis, $4/sq. ft. cheaper to build an office, and $1/sq. ft. cheaper to build a warehouse
    • $4/sq. ft. cheaper to build a manufacturing facility than in Birmingham AL, $5/sq. ft. cheaper to build an office, and $3/sq. ft. cheaper to build a warehouse
    • $5/sq. ft. cheaper to build a manufacturing facility than in Nashville, $6/sq. ft. cheaper to build an office, and $3/sq. ft. cheaper to build a warehouse
    • $7/sq. ft. cheaper to build a manufacturing facility than in Atlanta, $9/sq. ft. cheaper to build an office, and $5/sq. ft. cheaper to build a warehouse


Research & Development

  • The following research and development centers and institutes pertinent to the metalworking sector are located near Wayne County:
    • University of Southern Mississippi's Center for Logistics, Trade, and Transportation
    • University of Southern Mississippi's Polymer and High Performance Materials Institute
    • University of Southern Mississippi's International Coatings and Formulation Institute
    • Mississippi State's Center for Advanced Vehicular Systems


Primary and Secondary Education

Wayne County School District

  • Selected by U.S. News and World Report as a "Professional Learning Community"
  • Over 3,600 students
  • 16:1 Student/Teacher ratio, the same as the state average
  • $10,029 in Revenue per Student, higher than the state average

Wayne Academy

  • Fastest growing private school in the Mississippi Association of Independent Schools (pre-K through 12th grade)
  • ACS-CASI (Southern Association of Colleges and Schools-Council on Accreditation and School Improvement) accreditated 


Support Services within the Labor Shed

  • 81 Commercial Banks
  • 50 General Freight Trucking
  • 44 Industrial, Commercial, and Institutional Building Construction Companies
  • 39 Electrical Contractors
  • 32 Site Preparation Contractors
  • 26 Industrial Machinery and Equipment Merchant Wholesalers
  • 16 Computer Systems Design Services
  • 13 Lumber, Plywood, Millwork and Wood Panel Merchant Wholesalers
  • 11 Industrial Supplies Merchant Wholesalers
  • 11 General Warehousers
  • 6 Chemical and Allied Products Merchant Wholesalers
  • 5 Solid Waste Collectors
  • 3 Industrial Gas Manufacturers
  • 3 Construction Sand and Gravel Manufacturers
  • 1 Hazardous Waste Treater and Disposer


Taxes/Business Climate

  • Mississippi's corporate income tax rate's top bracket of 5% is 9th lowest in the United States.
  • Kiplinger ranked Mississippi the 4th best tax-friendly state for business in August, 2014.
  • Mississippi has the 3rd lowest corporate unemployment tax rate for new employers in the United States
  • Mississippi is tied for the lowest maximum corporate unemployment tax rate for employers in the United States
  • The Mississippi legislature passed massive workers' comp reform in 2012 to satisfy Mississippi businesses



  • Wayne County has no attainment issues for air permits.
  • Local permits will be granted within 7 days of receipt (assuming paperwork is proper).
  • The state of Mississippi offers one-stop permitting.


Real Estate






  • CDBG- $20,000 per job up to $2.5 million per project.  Must go towards drainage, water & sewer improvements, roads, bridges, rail spurs, or buildings.
  • Rural Impact Grant Fund- maximum of $150,000 per project.  Must go towards improvements of: building, land, utilities, drainage, or transportation facilities.
  • Development Infrastructure Grant- maxium of $150,000 per project.  Must go towards improvements of: building, land, utilities, drainage, or transportation facilities.
  • Payroll Rebate- 4% of payroll rebated back to company for 10 years.  Company must pay at least 110% of the average county wage.


Customized Training Cash

Customized workforce training is designed to meet a specific business need. It includes curriculum and material development as well as instruction. Funding is available through project agreements with the Community Colleges for Workforce Enhancement Training Fund administered by the Mississippi Community College Board. Appropriate financial documentation is required.

  • Industry-Based Training – A business may be reimbursed for up to $35 per hour of training conducted by the industry for the industry when the college does not provide the training.
  • Vendor Training – A business may be reimbursed for on-site vendor training costs at one-half of the daily cost, not to exceed $500 per day, with a 10-day limit per training area. Off-site vendor train-the-trainer costs may be reimbursed at a maximum of $500 per person for training registration. Such reimbursement may apply to no more than two (2) individuals to attend the same training area. Travel costs comply with project rules and limits. A business may be reimbursed for up to $20,000 per fiscal year for allowable, approved travel costs.
  • Train-the-Trainer – A business may be reimbursed for limited travel costs associated with training employees in a discipline not currently available through the local community college. Such reimbursement may apply to no more than two (2) individuals to attend the same training in a non-production area and no more than four (4) individuals per production training area. Travel costs comply with project rules and limits. A business may be reimbursed from $10,000 to $15,000 per fiscal year for allowable, approved costs for domestic and international travel, respectively.


On-The-Job Training Cash

Mississippi’s Workforce Investment Network (WIN) Job Centers can help offset training costs for new employees through the WIN On-the-Job Training (OJT) activity. Businesses may be reimbursed for up to half of a new employee’s wages while the employee learns the job, on the job.

OJT Participant Criteria

New employees covered by an OJT agreement must be unemployed or underemployed as determined by the WIN Job Center.

Training Rules

  • Reimbursement depends on the wages paid to new employees and the length of training.
  • The length of training is negotiated based on the skills necessary to perform the job(s) and the new employees’ existing skills.
  • Limited to no more than 50% of the total workforce or new hires.
  • The maximum length of training is limited to no more than six months or 1040 hours.
  • Businesses that relocate and lay off workers at another location may not receive an OJT for 120 days after relocating.
  • Other OJT rules and record keeping requirements can be obtained from the WIN Job Center.

The community college and/or WIN Job Center will work with the company to develop and negotiate a training and service plan and funding agreement.


Tax Abatements & Credits

  • Rural Economic Development Income Tax Credit- credit equal to the debt service on qualified industrial revenue bonds can be used to offset 80% of the state corporate tax liability for the life of the bond.
  • Jobs Tax Credit- A credit of 5% of payroll per job used to offset up to 50% of a business's state income tax liability, unused credits may be carried forward for five years.  Note, the company may takes this as a job training option in which $1,500 per job will be used to pay costs incurred in training employees.
  • Industrial Property Tax Exemption- 10 year property tax exemption on local taxes except school taxes.
  • Free Port Warehouse Property Tax Exemption- Full exemption from property taxes on personal property that is being held and stored prior to transport outside of Mississippi.
  • Skills Income Tax Credit- tax credit of up to $2,500 per employee for training expenses
  • Sales and Use Tax Exemption- sales and use tax exemption for new or expanding facilities.


Financing Opportunities


Source of Business and Labor Numbers:  Troy University

Our Community

Wayne County is home to natural resources which makes it a perfect fit for many businesses.  Browse our website to learn about the wood, oil & gas, and agricultural resources which can make your company successful.  Also, learn about our close proximity to the growing Southern Automotive and Aerospace markets giving us quick access to companies known around the world.

Contact Us

  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
  610 Azalea Dr., Waynesboro, MS 39367