Joe Max Higgins, Jr. is the man credited with bringing 6,000 manufacturing jobs back to an area of Northern Mississippi called “the Golden Triangle.” During the recession, unemployment hit a high of 20 percent in the this part of Mississippi. (In 2007, the biggest industrial employer in the area, Sara Lee, closed its pork processing plant.) According to CBS News, local unemployment in the Golden Triangle is now down to 6 percent.
On 60 Minutes, Higgins talks about how he worked with the local community college to train workers to work with new corporations including PACCAR, an engine company. “Nobody in the Golden Triangle made engines,” says Higgins, who made sure local citizens were properly trained for the jobs that PACCAR brought in, including working with robots. More than 3,000 people applied for the first 50 jobs. The re-trained workforce has attracted another corporation, Yokohama Tire, which plans to hire 2,000 people at its Golden Triangle factory. 60 Minutes airs Sundays at 7pm on CBS.