Special to The Times
As the Housing Authority of the Birmingham District (HABD) works to redevelop two major public housing sites, the state’s largest affordable housing agency is also bringing job training and preparation services to hundreds of families.
The Soft Skills Workforce Development Program will bring job training to residents living in Southtown Court and Loveman Village. Soft skills will be led by the Alabama State Black Chamber of Commerce.
Tenant employment skills kickoff sessions began Tuesday at Loveman Village and will be held Thursday at Southtown Court at 11 a.m. The Southtown Court Community Center is at 2501 University Blvd.
As HABD presses with plans to redevelop Loveman Village and Southtown Court with modern homes and greenspace, the agency is just as focused on helping current residents improve their own conditions through the Family Self-Sufficiency and Section 3 Programs.
Southtown Court and Loveman Village were chosen first because of the plan to convert those communities.
“We will have some basic training on communication skills, some interpersonal skills, as well as some adaptability in how you fit into a work environment,” explained chamber president/CEO Jerry Mitchell. “We’ll also examine critical thinking and problem solving skills.”
Mitchell said his agency will also develop a clothes closet to ensure that residents are properly outfitted when seeking employment.
“As we are going through the training that’s not going to be the end of it,” Mitchell said. “We’re also going to continue to follow and coach residents, even after they get jobs. It is more than training. It’s a combination of training, coaching, and mentoring.”
HABD President/CEO Michael Lundy said helping residents develop marketable professional skills is just as important and multi-million dollar brick and mortar projects.
Lundy said financially and socially stable families are just as essential to healthy communities as new housing.
“This is something that is essential as we move forward in redeveloping Loveman Village and Southtown Court,” he said.
The soft skills training is part of the agency’s “Up and Out” program. The reinvigorated campaign includes a mix of programs including Family Self-Sufficiency (FSS). In addition to soft skills, also includes FSS and Section 3 services.
FSS is a five-year program designed to lead residents to self-sufficiency with better jobs, higher education and even home ownership.
Section 3 directs employment, contracting and other economic opportunities for residents.