Low turnout frustrates Worlds of Work 2.0 organizers
By WVUA 23 News Reporter Karnera Gafford
Organizers for West AlabamaWorks’ Worlds of Work 2.0 event today at Shelton State Community College say that while turnout is in the hundreds, it’s a disappointment compared with years past.
The event, which is being held in person for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic began, helps high school seniors find jobs or advanced learning opportunities ahead of their graduation in May.
WOW 2.0 isn’t the same as WAW’s Worlds of Work event, which is held in October. Worlds of Work offers students from around West Alabama a chance to visit Shelton State and see what sorts of careers are available in the area, from hospitality, cosmetology, manufacturing, construction and more.
Meanwhile, WOW 2.0 is focused on getting high school seniors in front of employers interested in giving them a job or training right out of school.
In all, 28 companies with 978 job opportunities are being represented at Wednesday’s event, said West AlabamaWorks Executive Director Donny Jones, including automotive manufacturers, hospitality organizations, the food industry and more.
But despite all the opportunities available, Jones said he believes many area schools did not share event details with their students. Because of that, only about 250 students registered for the event. That’s about half the amount of years’ past, Jones said.
“Our team is going to be there for our students to make sure they have every opportunity that they possibly can,” Jones said. “We’re disappointed that our schools didn’t get more of our students signed up for this, so we want to do everything we can to get the word out to let parents and students know that these great jobs are available and can start as soon as possible.”
The jobs represented at WOW 2.0 represent good career opportunities, Jones said, and the starting pay is anywhere between $15 and $22 an hour.