Jackson, Miss. (Jackson Free Press) –
Businesses in Mississippi are looking for workers with work ethic, honesty and communication skills, a new survey revealed today shows.
When you talk to some people, they’ll say, ‘Well these are soft skills,’ but they’re hard skills to me,” Mississippi Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann said at a press conference today announcing the results of his office’s survey. “These particular ones will actually more than satisfy the test of time.”
More than 5,300 businesses responded to the survey, and small businesses represented more than 90 percent of respondents.
“These are our small businesses, and this is where the growth will be in Mississippi in the future,” Hosemann said.
The survey from May follows one from November where businesses said they cannot expand because they lack the educated workers to do so, as the Jackson Free Press reported then.
In the recent survey, businesses explained what they are looking for in an educated workforce and how they want to get there. Nearly 25 percent of businesses said reasonable wages and employment opportunities will help retain an educated workforce. Around 15 percent of businesses said “top-rated public schools” would also help.
“These three right here—public schools, reasonable wages and employment opportunities—that’s it,” Hosemann said. “From those three right here, you’ll see growth in Mississippi businesses.”
Approximately 70 percent of businesses said they were not interested in working with schools to help grow the workforce. But Hosemann said he is confident that will change as businesses realize partnering with schools will create a better educated workforce, which will benefit the companies.
Of the respondents, nearly 400 said they would like to collaborate with local schools and community colleges to help train a better workforce. The secretary of state’s office will mentor those businesses to help foster the relationships, Hosemann said.
“I’m really proud of the numbers,” Hosemann said. “Mississippi businesses are speaking loudly and clearly about what we are doing.”