Arkansas Economic Development Commission


Mid-South Community College Breaks Ground on Hospitality Management Facility

WEST MEMPHIS, Arkansas (September 24, 2014) - Mid-South Community College took another step toward a world-class Hospitality Management program with a ceremonial groundbreaking today for the $2.2 million Jeremy Jacobs Hospitality Center.
Funding for the Center has come from a variety of sources, including The Assisi Foundation, the Delta Regional Authority, the Arkansas Economic Development Commission, and MSCC.
“This is going to be a fantastic facility for our students and our community,” said MSCC President Dr. Glen Fenter. “We anticipate that the Jeremy Jacobs Hospitality Center facility that will open a variety of economic development doors that will generate jobs and a brighter future for our region.”
“The building and cutting-edge equipment on its interior will put us in a position to give our students access to a world-class set of skills while giving area entrepreneurs a place to hone their hospitality and business skills. As is often the case, we are indebted to Southland and Delaware North for their willingness to make such major investments in what we’re trying to accomplish as a college and a community.”
The facility is named in honor of Jeremy M. Jacobs, chairman and CEO of Delaware North Companies, the parent company of Southland Park Gaming and Racing. Southland and Delaware North are making a $1 million investment in MSCC’s hospitality program over a 10-year period.
Troy L. Keeping, Southland Park Regional General Manager, President, and General Manager, said the program and its latest facility will help his company as well as others in the area.
“As our business grows and evolves, our need for trained employees continues to increase,” Keeping said. “We are excited to partner with Mid-South Community College to create a program that will provide a deep pool of qualified hospitality workers who will strengthen the tourism and entertainment efforts of Crittenden County.”
“We believe this partnership has great potential for our region and are honored to have the opportunity to continue our long-standing collaboration with Mid-South Community College.”
Site work is under way and construction will begin soon on MSCC’s North Campus adjacent to the Eastern Arkansas Workforce Investment Board One-Stop Workforce Center. The structure will include classrooms, a thermal bottling laboratory, bakery and food service preparation rooms, a computer laboratory, receiving/multipurpose area, and freezer and dry storage areas.
In addition to housing MSCC’s Associate of Science and Associate of Applied Science degrees and related certificate hospitality/food safety/culinary arts programs, the facility will provide space for “Delta Cuisine: A Southern Kitchen Incubator.”
The Delta Cuisine project is the result of the combined efforts of the Arkansas Delta Rural Heritage Development Initiative, the City of West Memphis, the Delta Regional Authority, the Arkansas Economic Development Commission, State Senator Keith Ingram, and MSCC.
Delta Cuisine is a non-profit West Memphis organization centered around a kitchen incubator that addresses both the competitive and productive workforce and sustainable communities goals for the region.
The Delta Cuisine Kitchen Incubator assists the creation of businesses involving products and services in the food industry. It is estimated the incubator will provide a launch platform for as many as 20 businesses per year.
Utilizing Arkansas General Assembly funds, MSCC hired John Auker as Project Manager to oversee the Delta Cuisine incubator facility.
“This facility will allow food and farm entrepreneurs in our region access to a licensed and inspected facility in which food production and processing can occur, plus we will provide business training to increase the business feasibility,” Auker said.
Paul Luker, President of the Board of Directors for Delta Cuisine, said the project will have a major impact on the region.
“While the kitchen facility is located in West Memphis, it will have the ability to serve the entire Arkansas Delta and Memphis regions as a microenterprise and economic development strategy,” Luker pointed out. “The facility will provide energetic entrepreneurs with a place to start food businesses and create new jobs.”
The MSCC/Delta Cuisine partnership will train entrepreneurs in the fields of food science, safety and nutrition, as well as small business development and expansion, including marketing and accounting.
“This project is a great example of a public-private partnership to meet a growing need for a trained workforce in the ever expanding hospitality industry in our area,” Sen. Ingram said. “I was honored to play a small role in securing funding for such an exciting project."
The Delta Cuisine project is rooted in skill development and training to develop a specialized workforce based in Crittenden County. The incubator’s early proponents include Beth Wiedower, director of the Arkansas Delta Rural Heritage Development Initiative, and Main Street West Memphis Director Leigh Ann Hastings.
To find out more about education, training, and entrepreneurship opportunities available at MSCC, visit the campus at 2000 West Broadway in West Memphis, call (870) 733-6728, email , or access the college’s website at