Lowndes County Career Center Office opens
Published 7:17 pm Monday, March 31, 2014
By Fred Guarino_
The Lowndes Signal
Thanks to the efforts of Cleveland Poole, vice-president of economic development and legal affairs for Pioneer Electric Cooperative Inc. and an officer of the Lowndes County Economic Development Commission, Lowndes County residents will no longer have to travel to Greenville for career counseling, job training and other assistance offered by the Alabama Career Center System.
In a press conference held Wednesday, March 26 at the Family Guidance Center in Hayneville, it was announced that county residents can now get such help from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. each Wednesday, alternating in Fort Deposit and Hayneville.
A Lowndes County Career Center Office will be open at the Fort Deposit Public Library on the first and third Wednesdays of each month and at the Family Guidance Center in Hayneville on the second and fourth Wednesdays of each month.
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Among those on hand to make the announcement were Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs Director Jim Byard Jr., Alabama Department of Labor Commissioner Tom Surtees, Fort Deposit Mayor Fletcher Fountain and Hayneville Mayor Kelvin Lawrence among many others.
Byard said Wednesday’s announcement was all about local leadership and state partnership. He said, “This newest career center will be a gateway for folks in Lowndes County… local folks… to have an opportunity to improve their lot in life,” which he said improves family, neighborhoods and the community.
Byard said, while he would like to take the credit for the Lowndes County Office, he said that goes to Poole of Pioneer Electric and David Hutchison, executive director of the Butler County Commission for Economic Development.
He said they talked to Mayors Fountain and Lawrence and Brinda W. Barrett, area manager for the Alabama Career Center System, who all thought it was a great idea, and “kicked it up the line.”
When asked about his role, Poole said he was at a meeting where some of the people who work at the Greenville Career Center Office were attending in Lowndes County. And when he was told the reason for their presence was the fact that the Greenville Career Center Office covered Lowndes County, and told there was no Lowndes County Career Center Office, he asked, “Why not?”
Poole then said, “Well, we need to change that.”
Poole also serves as secretary for the Lowndes County Economic Development Commission and is tasked with work force development.
Surtees said on behalf of more than 300 employees in the Alabama Career System, “We are proud to be in Lowndes County.” He said prior to Wednesday, Lowndes County residents had to go to Greenville or Selma for services.
Surtees said the people who use the centers are the unemployed, the under employed, those who relocate, veterans returning from deployment or active duty and people with disabilities whether they be physical or in training.
Lawrence said, “We’re just delighted to have a career center and to have Cleve Poole here to put this project together. It’s something that’s very needed here not only in the town of Hayneville, but the county as a whole.”
Fountain said that there is a “great need” for a career center in Fort Deposit. “We hope that the citizens will take advantage.” And he gave thanks to the Lowndes County Economic Development Commission and Janice Grayson, site manager for the Greenville and Troy Career Centers.
Grayson serves as supervisor for Deidre Prevo, the career center specialist for Fort Deposit and Hayneville, and helped the Fort Deposit Library to have what it needs for the Career Center Office there, Fountain said.
Dr Walter White, executive director for Family Guidance of Alabama, called the opening of the Career Center Office in Hayneville “a wonderful partnership we are about to celebrate.”
He said the Family Guidance Center serves over a 1,000 families a year in Lowndes County and is excited about making the services of the Career Center more readily available to all of the citizens of the county through partnership.
According to Alabama Department of Labor statistics, Lowndes County has experienced double-digit unemployment rates since 2009.
Services offered at the Lowndes County career center include registration to the Alabama Joblink website, help with resume preparation, career and job search assistance and referrals to sources of financial aid and job training programs.
Wednesday< March 26 marked the official opening of the Lowndes County Career Center offices in Hayneville and Fort Deposit. Inside the office located at the Family Guidance Center in Hayneville are from left, Janice Grayson, site manager for the Troy and Greenville Career Centers, Diedre Prevo, career center specialist for Fort Deposit and Hayneville, Brinda W. Barrett, area manager for the Alabama Career Center System, and Cleve Poole of Pioneer Electric and secretary for the Lowndes County Economic Development Commission. Poole was instrumental in getting the office opened in Lowndes County.[/caption] Services for employers include job listings, pre-employment screening and labor market information.