New jobs good news, training available locally

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, October 6, 2010

On the same day the President Barack Obama called for community colleges to produce an additional 5 million graduates by 2020, the City of Andalusia announced an agreement that will bring 100 jobs to the Andalusia area, many of which require a community college degree.

The president’s comments came at the beginning of a daylong meeting with representatives from some of the nation’s 1,200 community colleges, business and philanthropies.

Obama said community colleges “may not get the credit they deserve, they may not get the same resources as other schools, but they provide a gateway to millions of Americans to good jobs and a better life.”

In Andalusia, the city council and industrial development board approved an agreement with Vector Aerospace in which the city will build an additional 42,000 square feet of work space which it will lease to Vector. In turn, Vector plans to add another 100 jobs here.

Most of the company’s local employees needed post-secondary training to qualify for employment, and much of that training is available in the state’s two-year college system. Specifically, students can earn degrees in airframe technology, avionics technology and aviation technology through Enterprise State Community College’s Ozark-based aviation school, which operates a campus in Andalusia. Both high school and adult students can begin earning aviation credits in the school’s classroom at the South Alabama Regional Airport. Other skills needed for these jobs are taught at our own LBWCC’s McArthur campus.

There is an important message here for parents who are worried about the cost of a college education and their children’s futures. There are good jobs right here for people who are technically-oriented, like to work with their hands, and are willing to earn the certifications required for the work.

The expansion and new jobs are great news for our community. It’s our job as adults to raise the awareness of them to our youth and encourage them to seek the training they need to fill them.