Disney comes to Selma

Published 10:25 pm Tuesday, August 12, 2008

At least 20 young people from Selma will have the opportunity to work with Disney.

That’s the word from state Rep. Yusuf Salaam at a public meeting held Tuesday evening at the Larry Striplin Performing Arts Center.

The announcement came after a presentation about the Disney Career Start Program from its coordinator Wayne Hampton before more than 100 people.

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The meeting to talk about jobs at the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida is the first, said Salaam, who leads a diverse focus group dedicated to putting opportunities together.

“This is a very important process going where everybody can come together with a comprehensive plan for this county,” he said.

Those hired by Disney may work indoors and outdoors, depending on the role at Disney World. Those hired will receive an hourly rate of pay, ranging from $6.79 to $8.14 an hour, depending on the role they are selected for. Generally, depending on the work, the workers will be scheduled 30 to 50 hours a week.

The participants will live in the program’s housing complex. One-to-four-bedroom apartments are available, with two program participants in each bedroom. Costs of the apartments range from $75 to $97 per week, and the program will deduct the rent automatically from the paycheck.

There is also a one-time $75.50 program assessment and activities fee due if the person is accepted.

Salaam told the audience the focus group would seek grants, and the process would pay for round-trip transportation and the $75.50 assessment fee.

The key in all this is developing a workforce, men and women who have skills and who have worked with people and been trained to work with people — “a cultured workforce,” he called it.

“You cannot establish and refine a workforce development strategy without cultural enrichment,” Salaam said.

Hampton also stressed the importance of the program by showing the audience a video — one viewed by students who consider joining the program. But more than than, he talked about how the program stresses self care, education, networking, working with people, a positive image and energy and courtesy and respect — all keys to success in the workplace.

Freeman L. Waller, an educator and the father of two, said he is impressed with the program.

“We owe it to all the children in our community to grow and go as far as they can,” he said. “We owe them.”