Black Belt in the running for jobs

Published 5:55 pm Wednesday, October 8, 2008

If the Black Belt wants new jobs, now is the time to show how much.

Jennifer James, director of the Regional Center for Community and Economic Development, said a warehouse-type operation was looking to locate in Sumter County, but was also considering an area in Mississippi.

“What I want to be able to show them is this area wants these kinds of jobs, and there are people in this area who are looking to apply for these kinds of jobs,” she said.

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James declined to elaborate on what the company does or who the company may be, but said they were seeking potential employees who are certified forklift operators; currently hold a CDL driver’s license; are willing to become a certified forklift operator; interested in attending a local truck driving school to earn a CDL; or are interested in a general labor position.

“The company offers a starting pay of approximately $9.75 per hour with the potential to earn $15 or more per hour,” James said. “As I understand it, the benefits of such a position would be full health insurance coverage for the employee paid by the employer and a 50-percent match toward any 401(k) contributions.”

James said the salary and attractive benefit package could potentially attract employees from several surrounding counties, and the state of Alabama would be best served if the company chose the Sumter site over the Mississippi suitors.

“Counties as close as Sumter and Marengo have what we call reciprocal employment,” she said. “That is, residents of either county may work in the other. They bring that paycheck home and spend it in their local stores. Even though the employer is looking at Sumter County, it would greatly benefit the people of Marengo County in that it offers an employment opportunity to residents of Marengo County, and those people would go back home and spend those dollars in Marengo County stores.”

James said even if residents aren’t interested in applying with the potential employer, who is expected to employ approximately 300 people, they could still help by submitting a letter of support.

“What we need are people who are interested in applying to fill out a form and say they’re interested in these jobs,” she said. “If you’re satisfied with your job, you can still help by filling out the form and checking the box that says you support this company locating to Sumter County.”

Those wanting to sign the form may do so online at and submit a statement of interest via email to

Forms are also available at Demopolis City Hall, the Demopolis Career Center, the Livingston fire and police departments, Livingston City Hall and the Livingston Library and the Regional Center for Community and Economic Development Office at the Guy Hunt Technology Building on the University of West Alabama campus.