Stepping into a better future

Published 12:00 am Thursday, January 29, 2004

With the announcement by LBW Community College that two grants totaling $1.8 million will be administered by the college to fund the continued development of a microelectronics consortium, the future is definitely looking up for our state and county this new year.

The two grants will allow LBWCC to become the conduit for this consortium to develop programs to train students to obtain a career in a high-tech field.

Those students will be the core group of exceptionally trained, well-educated, technologically-minded individuals who will give Covington County and Alabama an edge in the competitive world of industrial recruitment.

Already, Alabama is seeing a tremendous growth in the automobile industry - an industry that is increasingly dependent upon the technically trained individual. Imagine the position our state will be in when we have a large number of highly qualified individuals ready to fill the ranks of other technologically-driven industries.

Picture, if you will, a Silicon Valley of the Southeast.

With these grants, Alabama has the potential to develop a region like that.

And with LBWCC administering the grants, there's no reason it couldn't happen in Covington County.

We already see technologically driven industries growing in our area. ClientLogic, Helipro, the fields of medicine. That's just a few. Our possibilities are limitless.

In fact, they're only limited by our willingness to seek them out and recruit them.

We have some dedicated people who are seeking them out. Their efforts have been hampered by the lack of a trained work force. Now, that won't be an issue.

Instead, these people can pitch Covington County as having one of the highest qualified, technologically literate work bases in the state - maybe the nation.

We're proud of Dr. Ed Meadows and the faculty and staff at LBWCC for working to secure these grants. In the past, we've been proud of both LBW and MacArthur State - now, as the merger is final - we're beginning to see the fruits of that merger and the outlook is promising.

Who knows what's next? We don't, but we're optimistic that the future is going to get even brighter.