Realizing Every One's Ability to Develop Yourself, or Project R.E.A.D.Y. was developed by Congresswoman Terri Sewell to help address what she says is the number 1 issue in her district: unemployment. She believes that by getting the word out about employment opportunities will help her constituents find work, and bring new industry to the district.
"Project R.E.A.D.Y. seeks to train our workforce to make sure that we have job readiness, that people are in fact ready for the jobs here in this district, as well as the jobs we want to attract in the future."
One aspect of the project is bringing in local employers to show their perspective, and what kinds of job applicants they're looking for. Chuck Smith of Rock Tenn encourages everyone searching for vocational and trade type jobs to utilize educational opportunities and career centers, because he says they're having a tough time finding qualified workers to fill numerous job openings.
"The skilled jobs are getting harder and harder to find in the craftsmanship. The general operating labor pool, you can get and train, but that group is hard to find."
Those educational opportunities are expanding, and Project R.E.A.D.Y. has partnered with several 2-year colleges to help train the growing workforce, along with The University of West Alabama. West Alabama President, Dr. Richard Holland, says they're helping find people in the community that need jobs and train them to reach their ultimate goal.
"Let's see if we can help Mercedes get 1000 new workers. Rock Tenn needs 100 or more. We're going to fill that need, and then ultimately that's going to give us a base to attract additional industries. All that contributes to a better quality of life."