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Study seeks to examine: (1) public and private factors that influence investment decisions in new technologies and the outcomes of those decisions; (2) the effects of automation on employment and on the workplace; and (3) the broader impacts on communities. Study is organized into sex sections: (a) extent and types of automation, in use and planned; (b) considerations and business outcomes of investment decisions; (c) effects on workers and employment; (d) associated changes in organization and management philosophy; (e) roles of education and training; and (f) impacts on communities. Overarching goal of study is to identify what public policies most effectively advance the transfer of new process technologies to manufacturers in the rural South. Policies are focused on: (a) outreach and information; (b) education and training; and (c) new industrial relationships. Study includes array of case studies of personal stories of communities and firms encountering automation- includes information on impacts on growth, competiveness, and labor market trends.