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Yokohama Tire donates money to state colleges

Reported by: Tyler Hill
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Updated: 9/22/2013 11:51 pm
WEST POINT, Miss. (WTVA) - The Yokohama Tire Company held a community gifting conference Sunday at the Ritz Theater and Conference Center in Downtown West Point.

They'll soon break ground on the new facility, but before they do that, they presented a substantial gift to the community.

By the time the company reaches full working capacity, it will employ nearly 2,000 people.

"Yokohama is gonna come in, and they're gonna be a good business partner," said West Point Mayor Robbie Robinson. "They're gonna be the big man in town."

The new manufacturing plant will be located in West Point, and Golden Triangle Development Link CEO Joe Max Higgins said it comes at a time when the area is in need of jobs.

"You couldn't pick a town that has had worse luck than West Point has with Sara Lee, Navistar and a few other companies closing in the last ten years," Higgins said.

However, he said the Yokohama is large enough to make a major economic impact on the area.

"It can take West Point back where West Point use to be," Higgins said.

Not only is the company investing in the local and state economy, they're also investing in Mississippi's education.

The company gave Mississippi State University and East Mississippi Community College a donation totaling half a million dollars.

"We're honored that Yokohama Tire would provide an investment into our university to help support our students through scholarship and research," said Dr. Mark Keenum, MSU President.

EMCC president Rick Young said they will use the money to enhance existing programs and help fund new ones.

"They will all be geared towards the success of workers that will eventually go work at Yokohama, as well as other industries in our area," Young said.

"It's a wonderful reflection of the kind of generosity and corporate partners Yokohama tire is going to be here in Mississippi," Keenum said.

Gov. Phil Bryant attended the conference, and he said the sizable donation is an investment into the state's future leaders.

"They are the best resource we have," Bryant said. "They're young adults, and they are out there right now looking to make there way into the future."

The Yokohama Mississippi Plant is expected to open in 2015 and will employ 500 workers in its first year.

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