Survey: No Benefits from Almost Half of Mississippi Businesses | Jackson Free Press | Jackson, MS

Survey: No Benefits from Almost Half of Mississippi Businesses

Mississippi Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann urged Mississippi businesses to take advantage of career and technical education resources to prepare K-12 and community college students for jobs.

Mississippi Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann urged Mississippi businesses to take advantage of career and technical education resources to prepare K-12 and community college students for jobs. Photo by Ashton Pittman.

— Nearly half of Mississippi businesses provide no incentives to their employees at all, a December survey conducted by the Mississippi Secretary of State's Office revealed.

Of the 5,600 businesses surveyed, 45 percent said they offer their employees no incentives to retain them, whether health and retirement benefits, child-care assistance, professional and/or technical development, extended vacation, maternity and paternity leave, wellness opportunities, or gym and parking amenities.

The most common benefits offered were health, retirement benefits, and professional and/or technical development, but just 30 percent of businesses surveyed offer them.

Fewer than 15 percent offer extended vacation, and maternity and paternity leave, while under 5 percent offer child-care assistance.

In a press statement announcing the results of the survey, Mississippi Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann focused on another set of statistics it revealed: Most Mississippi businesses have not taken advantage of resources aimed at preparing students for jobs upon graduation.

Hosemann called on business leaders in the state to make a greater effort to connect schools with businesses.

"When we hand students a diploma, it's too late to ask them what they want to do with the rest of their lives," Hosemann said in a press statement Wednesday. "We have to connect our schools and businesses today so we can better prepare our workforce of tomorrow."

Career and technical education, known as CTE resources, which are available at K-12 schools and community colleges in Mississippi, provide skills training in an academic environment that can help participating businesses grow a more skilled labor pool.

The December 2018 survey of about 5,600 Mississippi businesses found that fewer than 20 percent of businesses had taken advantage of CTE, and 10 percent said they did not know what CTE was.

The survey also asked employers about qualifications, with more than 70 percent citing "interpersonal skills" as the greatest indicator that an employee will be successful. Around 15 percent cited skilled trade certificates, and fewer than 5 percent cited either skills assessments, college entrance exam scores like the ACT, GPA or extracurricular activities.

About 65 percent of employers said they would be willing to hire someone who had been convicted of a nonviolent felony, while 35 percent said they would not.

A 35 percent plurality of businesses surveyed said that the primary way they find employees now is through social networking.

Ashton Pittman is the state reporter for the Jackson Free Press. Follow him on Twitter @ashtonpittman. Email him story tips to ashton@jacksonfreepress.com.

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