DECATUR, Ala. - As we head into the new year, the Limestone, Madison and Morgan County economic development organizations are taking several different approaches to fill jobs. This initiative is part of Launch 2035.
Members of the Decatur - Morgan County Chamber of Commerce say that even though many high school graduates enroll in college, there is still a good chunk of students that aren't sure what direction they want to go.
So one of their recruitment strategies is to target students in early education by introducing them to local industries.
"They don't know what's out there and then they go and they come back and they are thinking I didn't know that was there," said Amberly Fortenberry, Director of Talent Development and Recruitment for the chamber. "So just to plant the seed for them and then they get to high school and they can come to our career and workforce expo."
Fortenberry says that jobs in the trade industry can be just as profitable as jobs that require a college degree. Plus, it typically takes less time to earn a certificate than a degree.
"If they are good at a trade, they can go get that certificate and they can make great money and they don't always know that. So we want them to know that those trades are out there," says Fortenberry.
Fortenberry works with students in Morgan County Schools. She introduces 8th graders to local industries and gives them the opportunity to visit and consider that as a place of employment in the future.
She said the students also play The Game of Life in school. The activity simulates some real-life scenarios and gives the students a glimpse into how much it actually costs to be an adult.
On February 4, The Decatur campus of Calhoun Community College will be hosting the 2020 Career and Workforce Expo.
It starts at 8:00 am. and runs until 2:00 pm.
The Expo is targeted to high school and college students and brings together local businesses, industries, and employers who provide jobs in our area and the young people who will soon fill those jobs.
There is no charge to participate in this event.
Getting young people excited and eager to work in North Alabama is important but it isn't going to be enough to fill all of the open positions.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the state has a 2.7% unemployment rate and the region still needs to recruit from outside the state.
In a recent study by Deloitte, they recommend leaders consider offering educational grants, home-buying subsidies, student
loan support, family financial support, and relocation subsidies to entice people to the region.