Survey: Mississippi businesses oblivious to career and technical resources, but many would hire convicted felons

Published 2:01 pm Thursday, January 3, 2019

A recent survey of Mississippi businesses indicates a disconnect between employees and available career and technical training resources and a surprisingly high likelihood among Mississippi businesses to hire non-violent felons.

The survey, announced this week by Mississippi Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann’s office showed most Mississippi businesses have never connected with the career and technical school resources at the state’s K-12 or community colleges.

Another 10 percent are not aware of the programs or rigorous skills training in an academic setting aimed at preparing students for jobs after graduation day.

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“When we hand students a diploma, it’s too late to ask them what they want to do with the rest of their lives. We have to connect our schools and businesses today so we can better prepare our workforce of tomorrow,” Hosemann said. “We hope the results from this and other surveys can help move Mississippi toward this goal.”

More than 5,600 business entities provided feedback for this most recent Secretary of State survey, the fourth installment of a series of questionnaires sent to Mississippi businesses over the past two years related to workforce needs.

The survey also indicates that more than 6 in 10 businesses report a willingness to hire trained employees who have been convicted of non-violent felonies.

Among other responses, the survey shows:

  • Nearly 1 out of 2  businesses said the average age of their employees is 45 or older;
  • More than 70 percent of businesses believe interpersonal skills are the greatest indicator of whether an employee will be successful;
  • Approximately 45 percent of businesses do not provide incentives to employees; and
  • Approximately 35 percent of businesses said they find new employees through social networking.

Respondents also provided ideas on how the State Legislature can help small businesses prosper ranging from continuing to improve infrastructure to reducing burdensome regulations. The full survey and past results are available here: