I am EARTH.
The “I” in East Alabama Rural Innovation & Training Hub’s acronym is conspicuously missing, but it is the crux of their purpose. Notice in the logo the “I” is championed as the centerpiece intentionally. EARTH can only be as successful as the individuals within its workforce development programs—much like a community can only be as successful as each person living within it. “Every individual represents EARTH, just like our planet where the overall quality is contingent on the collective contribution of all its elements,” says Ryan Coleman, lead architect and EARTH investment team member. “Each person offers a distinctive perspective that plays a vital role in shaping the direction and growth of EARTH.”
The multidisciplinary workforce development program was founded to create significant social and economic change in East Alabama’s rural communities by investing in its people and historic industries, like manufacturing and agriculture. The hub-and-spoke program model, with individuals firmly rooted in the center, will also offer training in a diversity of other fields including healthcare, hospitality, energy, IT, transportation, and early childhood care and education. “EARTH represents all of us. It is not predefined but will be defined based on the people who live in our community. It will listen to their needs and provide various programs to help them be successful,” says Jeff Lynn, president of Central Alabama Community College and EARTH investment team member.
I am EARTH.
The people of East Alabama are its biggest advocates, and EARTH’s diverse investment of local leaders not only understands the needs of its communities but also is fiercely dedicated to generating innovation within them. Its residents witnessed firsthand the devastating aftermath of Avondale Mills’s shuttering, taking away over 1,000 jobs. “Many communities face critical labor issues. Sylacauga and the surrounding region has not been sheltered from these challenges,” says Glenn Sisk, CEO of Coosa Valley Medical Center and EARTH investment team member. “At its core, EARTH will provide education and training opportunities for area residents while removing barriers that before were non-starters. Complementary to those efforts, the ability to incubate future entrepreneurs focused on rural resources has likely not been achieved elsewhere and we eagerly anticipate future success stories developing as a result.”
I am EARTH.
As EARTH executes its workforce development programs, it will be investing in and preparing residents for the region’s long-awaited revival. “Flyover communities with East Alabama are the next great opportunity. The industries the region is known for are ripe for innovation and technological advancement. EARTH is in place to make that happen, and East Alabama will be at the forefront,” says Drew Honeycutt, CEO of Talladega Castings & Machine Co. and EARTH investment team member. By establishing a forward-thinking community filled with collaboration, he believes everyone impacted by EARTH’s ripple effect will benefit. “EARTH will provide opportunities people may not even realize exist yet. It is about creating lanes and pathways so people can dream big and make big things happen.”
“The people of East Alabama are talented, hardworking folks,” Honeycutt adds. And they’re ready to begin their community’s renaissance, together.
We are EARTH.