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Workforce Development Programs Fill Critical Employment Gap in Mississippi

May 18th, 2016

Hope Policy Institute calls for investments in programs to serve working poor

(Jackson, Mississippi) – Mississippi has a growing number of middle-skilled jobs—those that require some training or education beyond high school but not a four-year degree. However, according to a new report by Hope Policy Institute, the state has a shortage of workers with the skills necessary to secure these jobs that offer better benefits and pay opportunities. “In Mississippi, four out of ten working families earn incomes of less than $47,000 a year for a family of four,” said Dr. Corey Wiggins, Director of the Institute. “For these families, affording even basic necessities can be a struggle, particularly for households of color and female-led households who typically earn even less.”

The Pathways to Economic Security: Sustaining the Impact of Workforce Development Programs policy brief outlines the efforts of workforce development programs to ensure Mississippians have the skills needed to compete for good jobs in high-growth industries. The report also highlights the need for funding to sustain workforce training to help increase access to quality employment opportunities for the working poor. “As labor markets continue to rebound from the recession, the need for workforce training will grow alongside the need for middle-skill workers,” said Wiggins. “Matching the demand for both will require long-term and sustainable investments in programs that are both accessible and include services to ensure that all Mississippians can participate and succeed.”

Read the full brief here.

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