Program serves as resource for industrial leaders

Published 5:34 pm Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Industry leaders in Chilton County have a new resource.

The Chilton County Industry Outreach Program is a joint effort of the Chilton County Extension Office and the Chilton County Industrial Development Board.

“Eighty percent of industry expansion comes from already existing industry,” said Gay West, Extension Office coordinator who helped organize the program. “So, you want to support and promote the industry you already have.”

The program includes four lunch meetings, two of which have already been held.

A meeting on March 23 at the LeCroy Career/Tech Center featured a representative with Alabama Industrial Development Training who spoke about workforce training.

On April 6, a second lunch meeting, this one at Helen Jenkins Chapel in Thorsby, featured Carolyn Turner, international trade specialist with Alabama International Trade Center.

About 30 people have been present for each of the first two meetings.

The third meeting will be held from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. on April 27 at Jemison Municipal Complex. Speaking will be Yvonne Sims Murray, economic development specialist at the Regional Planning Commission of Greater Birmingham.

Murray will discuss financial incentives available through RPC.

“That’s what we’re trying to do, is address their needs,” said Joy Littleton, economic development coordinator with the Chilton County Industrial Development Board.

The final meeting will be held on May 18 at Maplesville Florist and Bakery.

The program offers valuable information for industry leaders, but perhaps just as importantly the meetings provide the opportunity for networking.

LeCroy Career/Tech Center Director Tommy Glasscock, who helped organize the program with West and Littleton, has taken advantage of the situation to meet potential employers for his students.

“This has been wonderful for us,” Glasscock said. “I can tell you success stories that have already come from this. It’s hard for me to get 30 businesspeople in the room at the same time.”

In addition to industry leaders, organizers of the program have also invited public officials to the meetings.

Those interested in attending a future meeting should call West at the Extension at 280-6268.

Those with industrial development questions should call Littleton at 755-5934.

The program was made possible by a Rural Alabama Initiative Grant.