By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
Friday, December 22, 2017, U.S. Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Ala., 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.
Shelby said, “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. 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!”
The Thomasville Public Library currently offers workforce and career resources to job seekers through a career readiness program; but the space is becoming inadequate for the number of people using the program. 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. The new center will provide computer access and training, and a career coach in order to strategically align learning, education and employment training all in one location.
At this time, individuals in the service area must travel approximately 32 miles to access an Alabama Career Center. The area 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.
Senator Richard Shelby has served Alabama in the U.S. Senate since his election in 1986. Shelby recently angered many conservatives for his refusal to endorse fellow Republican Judge Roy Moore for the vacant Senate seat formerly held by Jeff Sessions. Many Republicans blame Alabama’s senior senator for sabotaging Moore’s campaign in the general election. Moore lost a very tight general election race to Democrat Doug Jones on December 12.