SuperTalk Mississippi

MS business owners: “We need an educated workforce”

The Secretary of State’s Office recently completed a survey of 1,800 business owners, and it revealed common hurdles to starting a business, investing and expanding in Mississippi. The survey featured nine questions focused on business needs, and employee qualifications.

The most common issue found through the survey among the business owners is a continued lack of an educated workforce; a problem that Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann says needs to be fixed if Mississippi hopes to move forward.

“We need more jobs, higher wages, and greater opportunities for all Mississippians, but the message businesses are sending us is clear. We will fail to accomplish these goals if we do not have an educated workforce,” Hosemann said. “The main thing needs to stay the main thing—an educated workforce.”

In addition to the issues of an uneducated workforce, the survey indicates a few other trends among the business owners’ answers.

  • About 75 percent of Mississippi businesses find it moderately to significantly difficult to find an educated workforce;
  • It takes more than 47 percent of businesses three months to a year (or more) to find a qualified employee for an open position;
  • About 45 percent of current businesses said they would expand in Mississippi if they had an educated workforce;
  • More than 45 percent of businesses require employees to hold a two-year degree or higher; and
  • More than 30 percent of businesses said an educated workforce is most important to their business, and 20 percent said community support was most important.

Hosemann also discussed how technical training should take place throughout a child’s education rather than just in high school or after high school.

“We have traveled all over our State to visit elementary to high schools, and I sense the movement of our educators to provide not only basic education but also technical training,” Secretary Hosemann said. “More and more of this collaboration will be with our community college system to fulfill the now obvious current and future need for an educated workforce… We need to realize that our education of our workforce begins in kindergarten and does not end in your senior year in high school.”

Click the video below to see the full press conference:

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