BY GENA HUFF, Editor
The city of Aliceville is extending an invitation of annexation to properties adjoining the city limits. Edgar Pruitt, Director of the Aliceville Chamber of Commerce, has been working diligently to expand the city’s footprint and with it, Aliceville’s population count. According to Pruitt, an increase in the city’s population would increase federal grant funds.
The annexation project is one of three in which Pruitt is engaged, all working together. “I have identified three critical projects that we must address,” said Pruitt in an interview held January 2. “These projects have to be addressed simultaneously, you can’t address these projects in some progressive order because they are all three critical and they all need to be in the process at the same time.” These three projects involve housing, schools, and increasing the city’s footprint.
“First, we have a problem with staffing jobs in our city,” Pruitt said. “The major part of that problem is if our school was producing a ready-to-work work force, it would reduce some of that problem. But it doesn’t matter. The school can’t produce anywhere near the (employees for the) jobs the community needs. So, we have external people we need to hire in our community. Which leads to a housing project. So, we have a labor problem and a housing problem. The third piece of this, if you are going to tackle those two problems, what you’re really doing is laying the foundation for how you build a city. The people who need to be a part of how we build a city or town are the population of the town. That is where the annexation comes in. We need that community to be a part of this process and a part of the solution.”
To address the city school project, Pruitt asked, “How do we get our schools prepared to deliver a work-ready work force? Now, we have a career center which teaches certain skills, but a lot of the soft skills a lot of the employers tell me they absolutely must have are not being addressed through that career center program. Our superintendent has purchased a program called ‘The Leader in Me’ program. They are teaching that program in all of our public schools.
Pruitt says the teaching of how to put into effect the program the student just learned is a crucial part missing from the program. “The execution piece is what we are hoping to finance and develop for our own local school,” said Pruitt. In this so-far unformed development for the schools, Pruitt hopes parents and employers to play a role.
See complete story in the Pickens County Herald.