By Doug Anthony
Councilwoman Helen Z. Willis of District 3 has redefined her purpose in 2019 for the district since being elected to office on May 1, 2017. Willis is focused on economic development, redevelopment, planning, and zoning, along with bringing more diverse programs to the area.
As a part of her redevelopment efforts, having the Atlanta Job Corps facility in District 3 – the Welcome All and Cliftondale communities – is going to be a great benefit to the community and the region. “I want to reduce the pipeline to prison for youth by ensuring Parks and Recreation is offering quality and diverse programming. Some youth don’t want to take the traditional route of the educational process. My goal would be to encourage them to take advantage of the great opportunities that are available through Job Corps. Students participating in the Job Corps program can develop a trade, which allows them to maintain a substantial income to guarantee a viable quality of life.”
The new Job Corps center is expected to admit approximately 472 students with 141 staff. Over a 5-year period, the center’s estimated operating cost will be somewhere in the region of $63 million dollars. Councilwoman Willis discussed that the economic impact to the City affords small business enterprises increased opportunities to compete for goods and services such as food services, clothing purchases, medical and dental off-center services, as well as, technical and professional development training services that would support the Job Corps center operations. The trickle-down economic effect of having the Job Corps center will lead to increased local employment that will contribute to the local tax base in this newly incorporated City of South Fulton.
Job Corps is going to encourage and increase entrepreneurship, help train young adults with skills necessary in order to survive in life, find a good job due to the on the job training component and increase the work, live, and play goal that South Fulton wants to enhance the City.
Councilwoman Willis summed up in a nutshell that, “The forecasted economic activity generated by the Job Corps center in South Fulton County will demonstrate its capacity and value as an economic engine in the community. Based on recent information, the center will be one of the top employment centers in the municipality.”
Also looking forward to the opening of the new Job Corps in late 2020 is City of South Fulton’s Mayor, William “Bill” Edwards, and Y. Dyan Matthews, President and Chief Executive Officer of the South Fulton Chamber of Commerce, Inc. The economic effect that Job Corps in the City of South Fulton will generate cannot be underscored or go unnoticed.
Mayor Edwards enthusiastically expressed, “The Job Corps campus will house approximately 500 students plus staff. These individuals will be purchasing goods and services in the community. Additionally, it will also provide jobs skills training in many areas that will support the community in achieving its economic vision. This is an excellent opportunity, having Job Corps in the City of South Fulton because the curriculum is designed to address the needs of our children by giving them the technical education that is so desperately needed in today’s workforce. It is also an alternative for students who are having trouble in the regular educational process by catering to their individual desires for advancement and providing them the groundwork to develop into productive citizens.”
President & CEO, Dyan Matthews of South Fulton Chamber of Commerce Inc., mentioned that companies throughout South Fulton County have expressed concerns about the difficulty in finding skilled talent from our community to fill job vacancies. “Now, because of Job Corps, our youth who are looking to be trained have the opportunity to obtain these skills right here in our community. This training will provide South Fulton youth with skills that will make them marketable, opening the door for a good salary and a wonderful quality of life.” Matthews added, “Job Corps’ economic impact also benefits companies here in South Fulton by providing a talent pool of qualified, skilled talent that they can hire and know that these are residents of the City of South Fulton, as well as, residents from all eight cities of South Fulton County.”
Job Corps is the largest free residential education and job training program for young adults ages 16 to 24. The program offers young men and women in the mentioned age set the opportunity to improve the quality and satisfaction of their lives through academic and vocational training. The program is administered by the United States Department of Labor. Job Corps offers career training in high-growth industries that will give students the hands-on, practical experience they need to begin working toward a long-term successful career. The curriculum at Job Corps is varied, enrollees have the option of learning different industry sectors as advanced manufacturing, automotive and machine repair, construction, finance and business, health care, homeland security, hospitality, information technology, renewable resources and energy, and transportation. Graduates of Job Corps either enter the workforce or an apprenticeship, go on to higher education, or join the military.