Industry appreciation night highlights arts in Chilton CountyBy Emily Etheredge Published 2:27pm Wednesday, February 13, 2013
As rain heavily poured outside the Clanton Conference and Performing Arts Center at Jefferson State Community College Tuesday night, those inside were treated to a variety of visual arts.
The Chilton County Industrial Development Board hosted the first industry appreciation night designed for the community to say thank you to different industries in Chilton County for creating jobs and growing the economy.
The Chilton County Arts Council showcased works from the sweetheart fine art show and T.I.G.E.R. trails art show in the main lobby for guests to admire as they arrived.
Industrial Development Coordinator Fred Crawford told those in attendance that in 1986, former Mississippi Gov. William Winter chaired a committee of governors and others that looked at the need for growth in the South.
“At that time we had needs because of failures, lack of real leadership, money, jobs and education,” Crawford said. “Economic development is the word that grew out of this and now economic development is bringing into Chilton County new and meaningful business and the growing of existing industry.”
Crawford said the expansion of jobs is often brought about for rebuilding a good workforce, a good business climate and an education system that can train that workforce.
Crawford said the purpose of the event was to say “thank you” to industries within the county who had expanded by adding equipment or shipping goods to other countries or adding workers.
Crawford pointed out that Chilton County’s unemployment rate is currently 6.1 percent along with Alabama’s unemployment rate of 7.1 percent.
“Chilton County industries have added 750 new jobs spent over $60 million in new equipment and expansion in 2012,” Crawford said.
Chairman of the Industrial Development Board Cecil Woodham introduced president of Alabama Farmers Federation Jimmy Parnell as the main speaker for the evening.
Parnell said since being elected as president of the Alabama Farmers Federation in December 2012, he has spent the majority of his time promoting agriculture and protecting farmers throughout the state.
Parnell gave statistics that more than 122,000 people work in the timber industry in Alabama, 86,000 work in poultry, 11,000 jobs available in the grain industry including soybeans and corn and 7,000 people work in the nursery and greenhouse industry.
“These industries produce more than $70 billion in income for the state of Alabama which is a tremendous impact,” Parnell said. “Here in this county, timber and agriculture are our largest industries and we welcome agriculture.”
Parnell said there is a huge demand for people that can work and reminded everyone that it is important to work hard and “think.”
“These days we have to wait for someone to tell us what to do,” Parnell said. “We need to always remember to think about what we are doing. I think the future is bright for this county and I am proud to be a part of it.”
The Jemison High School band and jazz band performed, and Anna Curtis performed the Neapolitan Dance from the third act of Swan Lake.
Curtis started Festival Ballet Arts in Clanton in an effort to bring the enrichment, training and beauty of classical ballet to the youth in Chilton County.
Members of the Chilton County Commission, mayors from Clanton, Maplesville, Jemison and Thorsby as well as those representing businesses throughout the county and many others from the community showed up to support the event.
“We can never say thank you too much,” Crawford said. “Our county is doing well and that is something we should be proud of.”