Mayor spreading message of jobs in local churches

Dec 27, 2017

From The Decatur Daily
by Bayne Hughes

Mayor Tab Bowling and Venessa Edmonds, of the Alabama Career System’s Decatur Career Center, are giving up some Sunday mornings to find potential employees.

The duo visited Bell Primitive Baptist Church last week, and they’re working to schedule visits to Epic Church, Calvary Assembly of God and possibly Decatur Baptist in early 2018.

Bowling said the visits to these faith-based organizations are a continuation of an ongoing effort that began earlier this year with Decatur Youth Services’ “Time to Shine” career fairs.

They’re trying to let the unemployed and under-employed know about the available opportunities for workforce training and employment.

Getting more residents employed in well-paying jobs has been an emphasis for Bowling since he was elected mayor last year.

“I have so many employers telling me that they can’t find trained employees who are ready to work,” Bowling said.

While Edmonds said they had some success at the career fairs, Bowling said he wasn’t so sure. A group of community leaders then suggested that churches may be the easiest place locally to consistently find the largest number of people.

Edmonds said she’s willing to give up her Sunday if it means reaching more people with her message that the jobs are available.

After Bowling introduces Edmonds, she gives a short PowerPoint presentation about the on-the-job training programs and the Workforce Innovations and Opportunity Act.

“Right now, there’s a lot of great individual training available in the classroom or on the job,” Edmonds said.

Edmonds then will be available after the worship service to provide information and meet with any individuals who are interested in the Career Center’s opportunities.

Epic Associate Pastor Dan Durbin said the partnership between the church, the city and the Career Center is great for the members.

“We want them to develop their skills so they can be the best employee they can be and make the best income they can make,” Durbin said. “We want people to develop themselves to be the best gift they can be.”

Durbin said improving a person’s salary not only helps their personal outlook, it also helps with family life and the church.

“The church is a great place for the mayor to find people to take advantage of the opportunities they’re offering,” Durbin said.

Bowling said he is also talking with churches about solving the issue of transportation that often holds back local residents from good employment.

“Transportation is an issue when you’re only making $10 an hour,” Bowling said. “Providing rides could be a great ministry, or a church could help someone purchase an automobile.”