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Employment issues in East Alabama

Published: Nov. 8, 2021 at 9:50 PM CST
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - Obstacles with transportation and healthcare in rural communities in East Alabama have made it difficult to re-enter the workforce.

Carl Brady with East Alabama Works says the pandemic forced people to leave their jobs and some have not returned. He believes last years shutdown caused several people to drop out or disengage with the workforce.

“The unemployment rate as we see it doesn’t include those people who are not even looking for a job right now,” says Brady. “We have a number of people in our rural communities having a difficult time getting back into the workforce or even choosing to look for a job because of a couple different kind of barriers.”

These barriers were present before, but Brady says the pandemic caused them to get worse.

“Here in the state of Alabama we had over 1,000 childcare centers that shut down because of the pandemic,” says Brady. “Many of those have not reopened. Most child care centers have a waiting list of parents trying to get their kids into a daycare or child care center. In the meantime If they don’t have anyone to keep their kids. They’re not able to go to work.”

These are factors companies consider before making investments or moving to these communities

“If I’m looking to invest millions of dollars into a plant or a factory, then I need to know that the workforce is there,” says Brady. “If I look and I see that the unemployment rate is really low or there that there are significant barriers to employment. Then I know if I need to hire 300 people, there may not be 300 people available to work in that community.”

Brady says plan to do they’re part to ensure Alabamians are ready to work. They are looking for ways to help people overcome these problems and keep the workforce strong.

For more information on East Alabama Works, visit https://eastalabamaworks.com/

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