John Brummett continues his somewhat lonely quest to search for important answers about the Toyota decisions in East Arkansas, which lost out to Tupelo, Mississippi. Today, he returns again to potential workforce issues, including this provocative snippet:
Tupelo is closer to Alabama than Arkansas. It has a demographic makeup that is mostly white and high school-educated, and, in fact, seems to be a smaller version of our Jonesboro, an East Arkansas oasis of robust economic performance and standout public school achievement.
The failings in both states seem to be not so much pervasive as pocketed. It looks like we were putting up our most-challenged area against one of Mississippi's most-advantaged, a noble quest for which we shouldn't be faulted.
Second, an informed reader sends a report on a study conducted last year of Arkansas human resource officers and others responsible for general business hiring. Most reported that they found more than half our state's high school graduates who came to them for jobs to be unacceptably inept at basic math, reading comprehension and writing.
Perhaps more importantly, they said they found more than half also to be lacking "soft skills" such as punctuality, showing up for work, dressing properly, maintaining a pleasant manner and staying motivated.