Underemployment and poverty are important social problems, and they have received attention from researchers and policymakers with interest directed toward workforce development programs. Building from the knowledge obtained through regional and national quantitative studies, this project assessed what employers and underemployed adults living in Mississippi Delta communities had to say about these problems and how to address them for the purpose of informing a community-based organization. Following a review of Census data, qualitative telephone interviews and focus groups were utilized in this community-based action research effort aimed at informing workforce development program planning to increase livelihood security. Results from asset mapping and needs assessment processes indicate that employers and the underemployed share similarities in how they view the area's socioeconomic condition, but there are differences between the groups in interpreting the position of the underemployed in relation to wanting to work. Follow-up meetings were used to check, expand, and interpret these research results, and additional planning meetings were held. Program and policy implications are discussed.
Green, John, Antoinette Jones, and Christopher Pope. 2004. "Underemployment and Workforce Development in the Mississippi Delta: Community-Based Action Research for Program Planning to Increase Livelihood Security." Journal of Rural Social Sciences, 20(1): Article 5. Available at: https://egrove.olemiss.edu/jrss/vol20/iss1/5