Marshall EDC Partners with ETBU for Great Commission Center
Friday, July 09, 2021
By Special to the News Messenger | Jul 9, 2021
East Texas Baptist University continues to make significant investments in the Marshall community including its newest edition, The Great Commission Center.
The Great Commission Center requires a capital investment of over $8 million. Marshall Economic Development Corporation (MEDCO) is contributing $250,000 to help with the completion of the project and take advantage of a $1.5 million challenge grant to double its contribution’s weight.
The Great Commission Center will be the new home for the Fred Hale School of Business as well as a place that connects local communities to the school. The center will be established at the front of the university with its articulate American Collegiate Georgian architecture. The planned building will be an approximately 22,500 square foot project with three floors that provides adequate multi-use spaces for faculty, students, and local organizations to meet.
The Marshall EDC Board of Directors unanimously approved the expenditure of $250,000 for the creation and retention of primary jobs through a primary job training facility and career center for use by higher education, subject to city council approval. The Marshall City Council approved of the expenditure of EDC funds at Thursday night’s meeting.
Dr. Blair Blackburn, President of East Texas Baptist University expressed his gratitude for the investment in education. “On behalf of East Texas Baptist University, our students, and future generations of servant-spirited graduates, we share our gratitude for Marshall EDC’s and the city of Marshall’s desired investment in creating this new wellspring to the Fred Hale School of Business and the programs for business training, entrepreneurship education, career development, and community service. This facility is more than bricks and mortar, it is the embodiment of our mission to teach and train civic-minded leaders for businesses, organizations, charities, and schools. Winston Churchill stated, ‘We shape our buildings, and our buildings shape us.’ Marshall EDC, in unity with the city council, are shaping our community, which shapes the lives of people.”
Marshall EDC is delighted to contribute to the exciting changes that ETBU is implementing on their campus grounds. With anticipation of the completed project, Marshall EDC hopes to see an increase in job retention and the creation of primary jobs.
Jeremy Spears, Chairman of Marshall EDC noted, “It is important to have a solid pipeline of talented workers each year to join the workforce of local businesses. The development of a career center will allow local employers the opportunity to communicate and address their labor needs.” He continued, “We want to connect our local college students with opportunities in mutually beneficial internship programs. There are jobs for interns and college graduates here in Marshall. We want them to know that Marshall is a place they can call home to start their own business or work with an existing one.”
The project will also create an entrepreneurship lab to help foster an environment suitable for start-up companies in Marshall, including ETBU students. ETBU, the city of Marshall, and the EDC look forward to collaborating in the future on the city’s Cradle of Entrepreneurship program. In addition, Marshall EDC anticipates that more internship opportunities for local businesses will open with the career center development.
“The biggest challenges rural communities are facing right now are creating, retaining, and recruiting skilled labor,” said Rush Harris, Executive Director of Marshall EDC. “It is imperative that we collaborate with our educational assets for long-term workforce planning to grow economically. Our citizens increasingly need specific skills to find quality jobs that pay well. Ultimately, you want to be the community that produces that talent so the private sector sees it as an asset it can invest in.”