Research and Data
Re-imagining Workforce Development:
2013 Report on the Future of the South
In partnership with the Southern Growth Policies Board, the Delta Regional Authority commissioned a comprehensive report on the current state of workforce development. Released at SGPB's 2013 Annual Conference in Louisville, KY, the report identifies strategies and recommendations for transforming the Delta region's approach to building regional systems into an effective pipeline of skilled workers. Written by Linda Hoke, Ted Abernathy, and Scott Doron.
Research Bulletin: Jobs and Small Businesses
Most people believe that the key to economic recovery will come in the form of newly created jobs. Naturally, then, everyone is asking: where will the new jobs come from? This report looks closely at the establishment dynamics that have created and eliminated jobs in the last 18 years in the 252 counties and parishes served by the Delta Regional Authority. The Research Bulletin presents data that underscores the importance of entrepreneurship and small business development for job creation and economic growth in the Delta region.
Often, one of the greatest barriers for community and business leaders is understanding their communities and recognizing the problems that must be addressed. Today's Delta presents county-by-county data across all eight Delta states on indicators of population, educational attainment, poverty, health, economics, and housing.
Healthy Delta Research Database
Increasing access to quality health care demands that community leaders understand where health inequity and lack of access exist. The Healthy Delta Research Database addresses the need for better information and data on the health and wellness of DRA communities through the exchange of ideas and data to make measurable improvements in the health of Delta residents. These profiles provide uniform, reliable, easy-to-use, and, most importantly, up-to-date data for local leadership to use in benchmarking their health and health care improvements over time. The database offers data reports for individual counties and parishes, for each state in the Delta region, and for the region as a whole, all of which increase the quality of health and wellness information and guide public health officials in best serving Delta communities.
Growing a Healthy Workforce in the Delta
Recognizing that health plays a vital role in the productivity and well-being of the region, the DRA’s health advisory committee (assembled in 2009) developed a strategic plan for the agency to have a real impact on health outcomes and access to healthcare in the Delta. This plan provided recommendations for actions the DRA could take to play a more prominent role in investing in increased health and productivity of the region's workforce. The DRA has a long and successful history of bringing together various agencies and local groups for the betterment of the Delta region. This leadership role as facilitator, coordinator and relationship-builder has proven invaluable to the region and represents a unique and key asset. Based on the plan released in July 2009, DRA leadership published in January 2010 a list of projects and actions to be taken to help improve health outcomes in the Delta that continues to guide DRA investments and program development to address access to healthcare for our region.
Almost 3 million of the nation’s 4 million miles of roads are classified as rural. More than 82 percent of the nation’s communities depend solely on trucking for the delivery of goods. Traffic congestion is increasing at twice the rate in rural areas than it is in urban areas, and one-third of rural interstates and highways need repair.
Since its creation in 2000, the Delta Regional Authority has funded 145 transportation projects, investing $24.3 million and leveraging another $1.14 billion in public and private investment into transportation infrastructure in Delta communities—helping to create and retain more than 15,000 jobs.
Delta Region Ports and Navigable Waterways
The Mississippi River system includes three-fourths of the inland waterways in the United States and serves as the major transportation artery for our country with more than 9,000 miles of navigable waterways. The ports of the Lower Mississippi River provide vital resources and passage for the more than 800 million tons of commodities shipped throughout the Delta region each year. This map identifies the numerous public and private ports and waterways within the Mississippi Delta region.
Multimodal Transportation Assets, Needs, and Recommendations
Transportation infrastructure—such as highways and railways, river ports and terminals, and airports—connect Delta residents and businesses with a global economy ripe with opportunities for economic growth and commerce. Ensuring strong and sustainable infrastructure for Delta communities, both urban and rural, ensures important access to U.S. and global markets and poises the Delta as a competitive hub for business location and expansion.
Delta Development Highway System
The Delta Regional Authority continues to pursue its Congressionally-mandated goal of improving transportation infrastructure in the region, through the States’ Economic Development Assistance program and the Delta Development Highway System (DDHS).
The DDHS was prepared in 2007 in collaboration with its eight state Departments of Transportation (DOT) -- all of whom approved the system’s corridors, projects, priorities, and planning-level costs. As proposed, the DDHS consists of 3,843 miles of improved facilities with an estimated total system investment of $18.5 billion over 20 years. When fully completed, the DDHS's overall economic impact on the Delta region will include more than 130,000 additional full-time equivalent jobs -- with an annual increase of nearly $3.5 billion in additional income (in 2006 dollars). The DDHS will address the serious infrastructure deficiencies within the Delta region by expanding transportation facilities throughout the region's eight states.
iDelta: Information Technology in the Delta
With funding from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the DRA contracted with Southern Growth Policies Board to assess the usage of information technology for economic development in the DRA region. iDelta provides a broad platform to examine the opportunities and challenges in utilizing IT to advance the Delta region. Southern Growth Policies Board and the Delta Regional Authority developed a detailed set of recommended actions to create iDelta, the recommendations crafted with feedback from more than 500 Delta citizens who participated in focus groups and surveys.