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Basic education

MBJ Editorial

Sending our children off to school, we hope that they learn the basics – those three R’s: reading, ‘riting and ‘rithmetic. We

think that in so doing, they’ll be prepared for that first job, college and the real world. Talk to employers, you learn quickly

that too many Mississippi students don’t have the basics down and can’t even show up on time for interviews and work,

follow directions or treat customers and fellow workers with courtesy.

“Employers, whether manufacturers or bankers, say they can find technically-trained people on specific skills, but a majority

of applicants, particularly for entry-level jobs, don’t have the basic interpersonal skills,” said John Baas, director of industrial

relations for the Mississippi Manufacturers Association. “It all gets back to the same thing: more people are coming from

families where these values are not stressed.”

It’s bad news for Mississippi business and our economy.

In an effort to remedy this situation, the MMA began a plan last week to place more than 30,000 “What Do Employers

Expect of Me?” posters in schools throughout the state.

Joining the MMA in this education effort are the Associated Builders and Contractors, the Associated General Contractors,

the Mississippi Bankers Association, the Mississippi Hospital Association, the Mississippi Retail Association and the

Mississippi Road Builders Association, along with help from the State Department of Education. A similar effort led by the

Work-Based Learning Advisory Committee at Hinds Community College’s Vicksburg-Warren County branch has been

overwhelmingly successful.

Be on time. Make smart decisions. Follow directions. It doesn’t get much more basic than that, and it can be hard to believe

that so many Mississippi young people don’t have these skills. We hope that the MMA’s “What Do Employers Expect of

Me?” poster campaign will instill these ideas in kids, and in so doing, build better citizens and a stronger economy.

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