Going to work: 100-plus apply for positions at Topre  

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Cullman Career Center (File photo)
Cullman Career Center (File photo)

‘It is a terrible disservice to our community, the State of Alabama and Topre America for a social media blog to disseminate unsubstantiated claims that spark controversy’

CEDA Director Dale Greer

CULLMAN, Ala. – Despite online rumors perpetuated by a local blog on Wednesday, May 8, a group of Haitians was not bused into Cullman, though they are finishing paperwork for new jobs.

“Applicants here appear to be coming to the Cullman Career Center from other north Alabama communities to apply through a staffing agency for advertised open positions at the Topre America manufacturing plant in Cullman,” said Dale Greer, director of the Cullman Economic Development Agency.

“These are legal residents, most of whom are already working in neighboring communities, who are applying for jobs in Cullman that offer a better wage and benefit package,” he said. 

Cullman County Commission Chairman Jeff Clemons said, “I don’t think it’s anything for anyone to be concerned about. These people are just trying to get jobs like everyone else. They’re coming to the career center from other agencies across Alabama, to be hired at Topre and maybe some jobs at REHAU.”

Topre America Corporation is headquartered in Cullman, with other facilities in Mississippi, Tennessee and Ohio. Reports from the last unemployment report from the Alabama Department of Labor (ADOL) show Cullman had the second lowest unemployment rate in Alabama at 2.5% in March with many local businesses and industries have unfilled jobs. 

According to Tara Hutchinson, communications director for ADOL, the statement made in the online blog post were completely false. “At no time were there any buses or vans,” she said.

Greer reiterated by saying, “We have spoken with Topre, the Cullman Career Center and the communications director for the Alabama Department of Labor to verify this information. I can dispel the rumor that this is a government program, that illegals are being brought here in buses or that this is in some way connected to a border crossing project.”

Greer went on to say, “It is a terrible disservice to our community, the State of Alabama and Topre America for a social media blog to disseminate unsubstantiated claims that spark controversy.”

Said Hutchinson, “This is a normal business day for the Cullman Career Center, which, along with the other 56 Career Centers located across Alabama, works to match suitable employees with available jobs.”

Hutchinson told The Tribune the applicants had nothing do with a federal program, but staffing for a local manufacturer. 

“A staffing agency representing Torpe America has been interviewing potential candidates at the Cullman Career Center for the past several days,” said Hutchinson. “They are looking to fill manufacturing and production positions. More than 100 people have visited the Career Center to be considered for these positions.”

Greer concluded saying, “Topre has worked with the State of Alabama on several expansions and has never failed to meet all state hiring requirements.”

Clemons echoed Greer’s sentiment by saying, “They’re not here illegally, and if they’re going to apply for the job and work, I don’t see anything wrong with it. Everybody needs workers, and everybody has a job to do. Cullman County is blessed; we have more industrials here than we have people to fill these jobs.”

Anyone interested in these jobs or other Career Center services should visit www.labor.alabama.gov.

Publisher’s note: While at the Career Center no buses or vans were observed, only cars and SUVs driven by those seeking work.