Cullman industries and businesses need workers, job fair coming April 24

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A sign asking for patience from customers in light of short staffing hangs at the drive-thru order box at a local fast food restaurant. (W.C. Mann for The Cullman Tribune) 

CULLMAN, Ala. – Cullman area industries and businesses are in need of workers, and local agencies are teaming up to bring supply and demand together at the Cullman Careers Live Event job fair April 24, 2021 at the Donald Green Active Adult Center, 1625 Cleveland Ave. SW in Cullman. The Cullman Economic Development Agency (CEDA) is hosting the event, which is co-sponsored by the City of Cullman Industrial Development Board, Cullman County Industrial Development Authority, Cullman County Economic Development Agency, Wallace State Community College, Cullman Area Chamber of Commerce and Cullman Parks, Recreation and Sports Tourism.  

 Participating businesses and industries include AGCO, AGCOR STEEL, America’s First Credit Union, Busted Knuckle, Cullman Cabinet, Dodge City Petro, HH Technologies, HomTex, North Alabama Fabricating Co. (NAFCO), Rehau, Reliance Worldwide Corporation, Rusken Packaging, Sequence Health, Topre America, Walmart Distribution, WestRock, Yutaka Technologies and others. 

 CEDA director Dale Greer talked about the current shortage of workers in the market evidenced by “help wanted” signs outside businesses and “please be patient” signs on restaurant doors across the area: 

“All of north Alabama is under 3% unemployment rate. You know, we’re second lowest at 2.2 (percent). That’s very successfulmost of north Alabama is. So I think that is a similar situation in the northern part of the state and maybe even for most of Alabama. I can’t remember a time that it’s been low like that throughout the region. And so it’s difficult. 

He continued, 

“You know, I think it’s a combination of things. I think COVID still has a few people restricted. I think government subsidies that are available now make it more attractive for many people to stay home; when you’re getting the COVID money and getting unemployment extensions and those types of things. You know, it’s just a tight market.” 

 

CEDA retail and workforce development manager Susan Eller warned, “They’re thinking, ‘Well, I’m making this much money’- whatever that is at this point in time. They don’t think about the long run, when will this money end, and then you’re going to have to have a job.” 

Even with the low unemployment rate, Alabama still has a large number of people not working, compared to many other states. 

Greer observed, “One of our problems is the low participation rate. I have seen some numbers that said Alabama’s like, the eighth lowest state in the country for percentage of people participating in the workforce. You don’t know why; some of that may be lack of skills or whatever it is, but there are a lot of opportunities for help, for assistance for people who need anything like that. 

 

And then I think we need to do a better job of talking about the jobs that are available here, and the skills and compensation for those. There’s potential for people to have some pretty good jobs here. I think sometimes we believe that jobs in industry are dirty, unskilled, low pay, and I don’t think that’s the case at all. You know, if you think about each company, they may have an HR department, they may have an environmental services group, they have health care people, some of them have food services. And then you’ve got engineering, electronics and maintenance; some of those are really well-paying jobs and skilled jobs. Not everything you read about in the plant is a dead end opportunity, and I think that’s a perception in some areas. We just need to counter that, too. 

He finished by saying, 

“And I think that’s the same in a lot of businesses and a lot of things. You just think, ‘Well there’s just not much to that.’ I think, when you get in and look at what people do, what the jobs entertain and stuff, some of them are a lot neater and a lot more involved than some people imagine.” 

 At a glance 

 Cullman Careers Live Event! job fair 

 April 24, 2021, 8 a.m. – noon  

Donald Green Active Adult Center, 1625 Cleveland Ave. SW in Cullman.  

Applications taken onsite, potential interview opportunities possible 

For more information, contact Susan Eller at 256-775-7228 or email susane@cullmaneda.org. 

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W.C. Mann

craig@cullmantribune.com