“The only way we win any deal is to tear off everybody else’s face. We gotta kill everybody to win the deal,” Joe Max Higgins told 60 Minutes.
Higgins was featured in a 60 Minutes piece Sunday night as the man who is bringing manufacturing jobs not only to the U.S., but to an area in Mississippi that saw an unemployment rate as high as 20 percent during the Great Recession. Now, unemployment in the “Golden Triangle” is at 6 percent, and many credit Higgins for the turnaround.
So how did he do it?
As 60 Minutes explains, Higgins did the most important thing any community can do to attract big companies and create a thriving workforce — learn what they need.
Higgins not only finds out what competing cities are offering companies looking to build plants in the U.S. and looks for ways to undercut the cost, but more importantly, he finds out what the companies need in their employees and works with a nearby community college to prepare the workforce with customized training for when the plant is ready to hire.
Higgins has brought 6,000 jobs to the Golden Triangle since 2003, about half the manufacturing jobs lost during the last 25 years, and he isn’t slowing down. He reportedly has 10 more advanced industry projects he is working on securing for the area which will bring in 4,000 more jobs.
Higgins is a shining example of what local communities and governments can achieve when they create a competitive market for economic growth and think outside the box when it comes to education and employment.