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Still urgent after all these years

MBJ Editorial

It is far easier to focus on the good in Mississippi business than the bad.

Our state has seen tremendous growth and development in recent years, and despite a general downturn in the nation’s economy, there are still thousands of exciting business success stories to tell in Mississippi.

But problems linger. While these problems have been discussed, debated and deliberated at length, little has been done to fix them: education achievement lags and high-tech skills are lacking. It can be easy to ignore these problems because they are most severe in the most rural parts of the state.

Findings from a recent study conducted by the Southern Rural Development Center at Mississippi State University and MDC Inc. in Chapel Hill, N.C., confirm that Mississippi faces “daunting challenges.”

Overcoming these challenges will take additional investment in our public education system and a concerted effort to insure that workforce training and lifelong learning opportunities are valued and available to every Mississippian.

Solutions for complex problems are never simple, and moving Mississippi forward has never been easy, but progress is possible when our communities, our institutions and business and industry work together.

It remains to be seen whether we can work together for the future of our state, but as the Southern Rural Development Center’s study points out, “It is with a sense of urgency that rural Mississippians look for leadership.”

Answering the call of leadership is something in which all of us have a vested interest.

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