Thomasville receives DRA funds for career readiness center

Published 8:09 am Tuesday, January 9, 2018

U.S. Senator Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) has reported that the City of Thomasville will benefit from a $1.26 million Delta Regional Authority (DRA) grant to help establish a new career readiness center in the downtown area.

“Many rural areas lack the basic career resources that are needed to develop a skilled workforce.  This Delta Regional Authority funding is excellent news for the City of Thomasville and the surrounding region,” said Senator Shelby.  “Not only will the project provide job seekers access to the tools needed to prepare for future employment, but it will promote connectivity and link workers with employment opportunities to meet workforce demands.  I look forward to witnessing the benefits of this strategic and innovative partnership.”

“This grant will allow the Thomasville Career Readiness Center to relocate into a much larger facility to better accommodate the rapidly-growing program, which has now eclipsed 50,000 visitors per year,” said Thomasville Mayor Sheldon Day.  “Over 70 percent of the visitors served by the center reside in underserved areas of the Black Belt region outside Thomasville and Clarke County.  I want to give a special thank you to Senator Richard Shelby and DRA for making this tremendously successful program a priority.  Thanks also to John Clyde Riggs and his team at the Alabama Tombigbee Regional Commission as well as other state and local partners for their strong support.  This has truly been a true team effort!”

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The Thomasville Public Library currently offers workforce and career resources to job seekers through a career readiness program.  However, the building is unable to accommodate the growing number of individuals seeking assistance.  The new Thomasville Career Readiness Center will allow for a wider array of job skills and workforce development activities to be conducted and will be conveniently located downtown in consolidation with the Thomasville library.  In addition to computer access and training, the center intends to provide a career coach and will strategically align learning, education and employment training in one location.

At this time, individuals in the service area must travel a minimum of 32 miles to access an Alabama Career Center.  Not only is transportation a hindrance for many people in the area, but lack of high speed internet access is also a prevalent problem in parts of southwest Alabama.  Less than one quarter of the households in the surrounding counties have access to high speed broadband capabilities, leaving individuals without a way to apply for most employment opportunities.

(This article originally appeared in the Saturday, December 30 issue of the Demopolis Times.)