Jobs were the topic Friday in Butler, Ala., as gubernatorial hopeful, Rep. Artur Davis, spoke to the Choctaw County Chamber of Commerce. Davis is running for the Democratic nomination for governor of Alabama. The event was sponsored by the Choctaw County Chamber of Commerce.
“It's hard to think right now when we're looking at high unemployment that, in the very near future, we're going to be looking at the potential of jobs going unfilled,” commented Terry Hadaway, a member of the Choctaw County Chamber Task Force.
However Hadaway, who also works with public relations for Georgia Pacific in Pennington, says that's exactly what will happen if the workforce is not properly trained once jobs do become available.
Davis agrees and stressed to the group the importance of having a very solid vocational education system. With that in mind, he says his vision is to make Alabama's Black Belt a central hub for alternative energy within the state.
“Several years ago, or 20 years ago, we decided we could make foreign cars in the state but we had never done it. Fifty years ago we decided to make rockets and we had never done it. The next generation of Alabamans have to decide if we can lead in new areas, and alternative energy is one of them,” said Davis.
Davis is currently serving his fourth term in Congress, representing Alabama’s Seventh District. He serves on the House Ways and Means Committee, and the House Judiciary Committee.
According to Davis one of the best examples that good job training is needed is a proposed hospital in Choctaw County. With some things now worked out in Washington, he says he is very optimistic that Rush Health Systems, out of Meridian, will be open to a new hospital within the county. Right now he says it's very important for people from here to be trained so they can be hired for those jobs once it opens.
Chamber officials say they are also confident that the hospital will happen.
“There's a high potential, possibility for it,” said Virginia Loftis, executive director of the Choctaw County Chamber of Commerce. “At this time I'm not at liberty to give any comment on it, or give any details about it, but it’s definitely a possibility.”