CLANTON, Ala., Aug. 21 — Mayor Bobby Cook and Clanton City Council members announced a partnership with Jefferson State Community College and presented a check to the college for the purchase of a training simulator in the new Workforce Development Center at the Chilton-Clanton Campus.
The Workforce Development Center is a collaborative project involving the City of Clanton, Jefferson State, the Chilton County Industrial Development Authority (IDA), the Chilton County Commission, the Alabama Rural Economic Center, Dunn University and private industry in the Birmingham region.
Cook noted the gap for academic and technical skills continues to grow. As one generation enters retirement, the next generation is often not trained to fill those jobs. He said the gap requires creative leadership to meet the needs of employers across the state.
“We must rise to the challenge for our industries in the state of Alabama,” Cook said. “As we look onto the horizon of where the state of Alabama is headed, the City of Clanton is determined to be part of the solution and promote growth and sustainability. Working with Jefferson State, the Alabama Farmers Federation, Chiton County and the IDA, we saw the opportunity to create a unique facility to build a foundation in workforce development. However, the foundation is just the beginning. The potential for the Center is limitless and is only restricted by our ability to foster stronger partnerships throughout the state and grow together for the betterment of our future.”
Jefferson State President Keith Brown said the partnership will help equip students for their careers.
“We are excited about this partnership and the opportunities it will provide our students and the Chilton County community,” he said. “This equipment will help Jefferson State provide training that will lead to in-demand jobs and, consequently, improve lives and help meet workforce demands.”
Dunn University President Chris Stricklin echoed Brown’s sentiment.
“We are proud of the teamwork felt recently, uniting our industries, our communities and our Alabama Community College teams,” Dunn said. “Together, we will build a better, more capable workforce to lead us into the future. Thank you to the motivated and passionate leaders of today who have devoted their time and effort to this innovative initiative.”
Community leaders also were on hand for the announcement.
“Since the beginning discussions of building the Clanton campus, I have known we were distinctively situated to make a positive impact in the state of Alabama,” said business owner Wayne McKinnon. “Seeing our campus partner in this new project with all of the leaders involved is a pivotal moment for myself and all of the foundational leaders in the City of Clanton.”
Alabama Farmers Federation President Jimmy Parnell said the workforce partnership is part of the long-term vision for the Alabama Farm Center at Alfa Centennial Park, a project of the Alabama Rural Economic Center Inc.
“We are excited to be part of the continued growth in Clanton and Chilton County. Last year, we announced the City of Clanton will be home of the Alabama Farm Center,” Parnell said. “Today, we are proud to announce the newest addition to the Center, the Workforce Development Training Center. It will provide a venue to foster leadership among our youth while they learn valuable career skills. These education and training facilities are central to the Alabama Rural Economic Center’s mission. We look forward to continue working with Chilton County as we create a stronger Alabama.”