JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – A new study released by the Secretary of State is shining a bright light on the issue of education in Mississippi.
As WJTV’s Margaret-Ann Carter reports businesses in Mississippi say they’re ready to grow but they’re in desperate need of one thing, which is an educated workforce.
“What’s holding them back? There it is it’s as clear as the nose on your face that Mississippi businesses, thousands of them, would expand today if they had the workforce to do so,” Secretary of State, Delbert Hosemann said.
More than 30 percent of LLC’s and corporations agree that an educated workforce is most important to their company. 20 percent said community support was most important.
The survey then asked how long is takes for an employer to find a qualified employee for the job, only half said less than 3 months.
“This particular one is troubling,” Hosemann expressed.
This means it takes 50 percent of employers 3 months to a year to find a skilled employee.
Hosemann says these results have led him to one conclusion, education is priority and starting at a young age is key.
“The thought that we have to take them through school and then start some kind of training program delays the whole process and we need to change that paradigm,” he explained.
Hosemann says integrating junior college into high school is one way to continue that education.
“Gulfport, Vicksburg, Corinth, those three are starting where they’re integrating their junior college system into the high schools and you can take junior college classes right there,” he said.
Hosemann believes this will positively impact several other things, “We have about 60 thousand unemployed right now you know if half of them were working, we wouldn’t have a budget issue. If the other ones that were working, were making higher wages, we wouldn’t have an infrastructure issue, we wouldn’t have a healthcare issue. All of those things revolve around an educated workforce.”