We recently came across some numbers that seem out of place in 2012. According to a National Adult Literacy Survey, almost a quarter of the residents of Hancock, Harrison and Jackson Counties over age 16 cannot read or read very poorly. That means that more than half of South Mississippians can't read well enough to fill out a job application.
These numbers are problematic on a couple of fronts. In today's economy most of the better paying jobs require an individual to be able to read on at least a high school level. When our area is competing for industries, you can be sure potential investors are going to look at not only the skill level of our workforce but also the literacy level.
Jones County is tackling its poor literacy level by declaring war on illiteracy. The mayors and other officials are spear heading this effort. We urge our local officials and business leaders to also make literacy programs a top priority.
We must find ways to help those who can't read or read poorly improve their reading skills. Not only will it help them find better paying jobs, but it will also greatly enrich the quality of their life.
That's our opinion, we would like to hear yours. Email your thoughts to firstname.lastname@example.org, or post your comments below.
WLOX-TV General Manager