THE NORTHEAST CORNER 423 Itawamba Junior College in Fulton began offering vocational training in addition to college courses. They were the only institutions of higher learning located in the region other than Blue Mountain College, originally established as a female institution during Reconstruction. By the 1960s, Itawamba Community College established a branch campus in Tupelo that outgrew the mother campus. All these efforts paid off in the long run. In 1950, Lee County had 1,740 manufacturing jobs. By 1969, there were 9,600. The population decline reversed. None of the factories employed more than 700 employees, but there were eighty-eight of them. The momentum built up speed. In 1962, the county completed an industrial park in Verona. By 1967 and 1968, Lee County had gained more manufacturing jobs than the other eighty-one counties in the state combined. By the mid-1970s, Lee County began to attract mid-level and high tech manufacturers—Tecumseh being the first. The Community Development Foundation (CDF) and Itawamba Community College cooperated to train the workers the employers needed. The city and county schools TOYOTA PLANT On November 17, 2011, Toyota celebrated its start of production in Blue Springs. Everyday 1,500 team members, along with 500 onsite supplier team members, work diligently to produce safe, high quality vehicles to be sold in the United States and abroad. Toyota Mississippi is committed to both building cars and building community. While education, safety, environment, and workforce development are championed. The $50 million Toyota Wellspring Education Fund bolsters the public school systems in Pontotoc, Union, and Lee counties. Additionally, Toyota Mississippi makes annual grants to non-profit organizations addressing critical needs in local communities, and team members have pledged thousands of volunteer hours each year to community service. Partnerships with area community colleges create programs to promote workforce development to build a pipeline of well-trained employees to fill the jobs that will help define the future of Mississippi. PHOTO BY AEROSTUDIO, COURTESY OF TOYOTA