Doors to open for job seekers

Published 7:32 pm Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Selma industries are partnering with the Dallas County School system to bring awareness to local job opportunities and the skills needed for those occupations.

Last Thursday, the Selma-Dallas County Economic Development Authority brought local business representatives to Selma High School’s open house program to educate the students about what Selma has to offer in the job department.

Selma principal Major Burrell opened up the ceremony by announcing the plan for the 2013-2014 school year to an audience school board members, government officials, parents, and teachers, and students.

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“We are going to prepare children to become college and career ready,” Burrell said. “There is no reason why our children have to leave their community to find jobs when jobs are available in Selma.”

Wayne Vardamen, the executive director of EDA, said that 5,000 people commute to Dallas County everyday for a job. He said a major reason behind high employment is not the lack of job opportunities, but a lack of skills among the applicants.

The speakers said that high school and college graduates should be equipped to read instructions, protractors, use computers, create resumes, do basic math, among other skill sets.

“We have between 300 and 400 jobs that are going to become available in the next five or 10 years, just through retirement,” Vardamen said.

Plant manager Gerald Worthington attended the event last night to event represent Bush Hog Inc., a business that manufactures multiple agriculture-related products. He said there are some things in the community that can stop it from growing.

Bush Hog Inc. said they can train people beyond a certain point, but there are certain basic things that applicants need to know to get through the application process, get interviewed, and get a job.

“They need to be able to read, follow the instructions, and do the job the way that it’s laid out, so they can make a quality product in a safe manner,” Worthington said.

Bush Hog Inc.’s Human resource manager, David Middlebrooks said that building on basic abilities can better the community.

“As employees grow in their knowledge of skill base, they are actually able to grow in that pay rate,” Middlebrooks said. It’s makes them, not only better employees for us, but more productive citizens.”

Middlebrooks is confident that the Dallas County school system has the right resources to complete the mission.

“I think we have the right plan. I think we have the right teachers. I think we got the right school system,” he said.