Labor Market Workshop
Sponsored by:
TVA Rural Studies
Southern Rural Development Center at Miss. State
The Farm Foundation
U.S.D.A.'s Economic Research Service
October, 1998

In October 1998, a conference was convened by four programs dedicated to providing information for the betterment of rural areas- the TVA Rural Studies Program at the University of Kentucky, the Southern Rural Development Center at Mississippi State University, the Farm Foundation, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Economic Research Service. The purpose: to better understand, and ultimately improve, how socio-economic conditions in the South, in particular the rural South, affect employment opportunities.

Amid widespread claims that "the South is rising again," the sponsors felt it important to consider whether that rising tide is in fact lifting all boats. It is not. Some in the South continue to live in poverty, suffer racial discrimination, and lack adequate education and training. Consequently, those Southerners fare poorly in the current labor market and are positioned poorly for future labor markets. Many of those Southerners live in the region's rural areas, places that MDC, Inc. refers to as "shadows in the Sunbelt." Indeed, MDC, Inc. and others have made the case, and we support it, that there are two Souths - one prospering and ready, another lagging and vulnerable.

So, for two days some of the country's foremost minds in rural development presented and discussed findings on a wide range of issues pertinent to the rural South and its workforce. This report entitled "Ready or Not? The Rural South and Its Workforce" (1.3Mb PDF) is an attempt to synthesize the findings and discussions. The underlying analysis, however, belongs to those experts.

Click HERE to download a PDF copy of "Ready or Not? The Rural South and Its Workforce"

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