Craig Field becomes site of workforce development effort

Published 10:18 am Saturday, April 20, 2019

For at least the next six weeks, Craig Field is housing Alabama’s Ready to Work (RTW) Program’s Mobile Training Unit (MTU), which is hosting classes aimed at assisting unemployed workers or those seeking entry-level skills and other workforce training.

“It’s all about bringing business and jobs to Selma,” Said Craig Field Executive Director James Corrigan. “I wanted people to know that they’re important, that they matter and their skills matter.”

The MTU is a classroom on wheels that provides people with a variety of training, some aimed at basic job skills such as communication and conflict resolution, as well as financial management and problem solving strategies, and others aimed at more detailed skills, such as computer technology, career exploration and more.

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The effort is a partnership between an array of groups, including the Dallas County Workforce Innovation and Opportunities Act (WIOA), Alabama Industrial Development Training (AIDT) and Alabama College Testing (ACT).

Corrigan said the effort is one piece of a program he is instituting to uplift the people who live on the Craig Field property, as well as the wide community of Selma.

“This is one of the ways I want to make our city better,” Corrigan said. “I want to affect cultural change.”

Speaking with businesses considering locating at Craig Field, Corrigan learned that many were concerned with the level of crime in the area, as well as the aesthetic appearance of the house and property.

Corrigan went to work immediately, installing cameras and lights and trimming hedges and trees, all in an effort to both beautify the space and make Craig Field an unfriendly environment to unsavory characters.

“We’ve made a big emphasis on community at Craig,” Corrigan said, noting that a new playground had recently been completed in the area. “It’s part of an overall plan.”

The free courses offered in the MTU take place between 8:30 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. Monday through Thursday and allow students to work at their own pace.

In the end, people who compete the program can earn a variety of certificates, including ServSafe certification or CDL license, as well as a National Career Readiness Certificate from ACT and an Alabama Certified Worker Certificate from AIDT.

Additionally, Wallace Community College – Selma (WCCS) is providing a tuition waiver for four college credit hours and others will be eligible for assistance in earning a GED.

“I want people to take advantage of it,” Corrigan said. “If we have trained workers, that helps us out. That benefits our economy more than anything.”

Though the MTU is only slated to be in the city for six weeks, Corrigan is committed to keeping it until as late as September, assuming demand for the program holds out.

“We’re going to keep it here as long as we can reach out to people,” Corrigan said. “We can reach more people, we just got it started.”

Classes began April 15 but, due to the nature of the program, Corrigan said a person can step in at any time and not be behind.

“You can come out to Craig and start that program at any time,” Corrigan said. “It gives them the opportunity to get those entry-level skills.”

For more information on the program or to enroll, call Craig Field Airport and Industrial Authority at 334-874-7419.