Optimism about Mississippi’s Future Seen
in MEC Blueprint Road Show Report
JACKSON, Miss. – Business and community leaders across Mississippi are optimistic about the state’s future and predict Mississippi will be an emerging growth state within the next 10 years.
Nearly eight out of ten leaders (79%) believe Mississippi can experience the same type of economic success as other high-growth southern states, according to a report detailing information gathered during the Mississippi Economic Council’s Blueprint Mississippi Road Show. The 2011 Blueprint Mississippi Road Show, sponsored by Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Mississippi, visited 20 communities in just two months, presenting the Blueprint initiatives and gathering input. Over 2,600 leaders from throughout the state attended the events and of those, more than 2,100 participated in electronic polling at the meetings and more than 1,000 additional leaders participated in the survey online.
“With a great level of participation in 20 communities across the state, this report gives us a clear picture of our state’s strengths and weaknesses,” said Dr. Hank M. Bounds, Commissioner of Higher Education and Chair of Blueprint Mississippi. “This will help us tremendously as we build a blueprint to a brighter future through collaborative efforts with business leaders, economic developers, university researchers, and local and state elected officials.”
While those surveyed are encouraged by what the future holds, only 51 percent currently believe Mississippi’s children will be able to find good jobs in Mississippi when they are ready to enter the workforce. Also, when looking at Mississippi today, one-third see Mississippi as an emerging growth state, while another third view Mississippi as a state that can’t escape negative perception. However, most believe in 10 years Mississippi will be either a newly emerging growth state (45%) or a hot economic development location (29%).
Mississippi’s recent success in economic development is evident in the polling, as 69 percent of the participants see Mississippi as moderately or very competitive in creating jobs, when compared with surrounding states.
The report breaks down regional differences in both opportunities and needs. Advanced Manufacturing ranked highest among categories for growth opportunities with 34 percent. An additional 26 percent believe the state is in position to take advantage of its natural resources. Education and workforce training were listed as top needs in all regions.
The 2011 Blueprint Mississippi Road Show, with its enormous and diverse participation, looked at the successes of each region, and compared them with the rest of the state. It also helped identify areas for improvement and distinction within each region.
“The information collected during the road show provides great insight into what leaders all across Mississippi are thinking,” said Blake Wilson, President and CEO of the Mississippi Economic Council. “Blueprint Mississippi will be an effective action strategy for Mississippi because we will be able to look at issues as they impact various regions and find opportunities for working together.”
The Mississippi Economic Council, Mississippi Partnership for Economic Development and Momentum Mississippi are working together on the $1.25 million Blueprint Mississippi research project, which is totally funded by the private sector.
For more information, including the full report and detailed regional results go to: www.blueprintmississippi.com