But it’s not perfect.
Anniston’s public schools need improvement. At McClellan, redevelopment is progressing — though not fast enough to satisfy our impatience. And pockets of profound, abject poverty still dot the county’s map.
We can laud ourselves all we want, but we must reach higher.
The point is opportunity: Calhoun County must capitalize on its opportunities as well as create more along the way. This premise requires no magic formula. It’s all about jobs.
On Monday, a story in The Star gave the perfect example: 34 displaced Anniston Army Depot workers have found employment through the Operation: 1st Rate program operated by the Calhoun County Chamber of Commerce. As previously announced, the depot is reducing its work force this year; 100 or so workers have already been let go, with several hundred more still expected to lose their jobs.
We applaud the chamber’s efforts to assist depot workers and those at Anniston’s now-shuttered chemical-weapons incinerator. We also look forward to the coming results of a strategic jobs and marketing plan for the county commissioned through a Texas firm. Tough times require out-of-the box thinking.
Here it’s important to note that Calhoun County’s opportunity is a microcosm of Alabama at large: Needed is an influx of employers who pay top dollar for top skills and educations. But with college costs rising like the morning sun, it’s getting tougher for people to afford the education — or skills training — that’s invaluable to employers.
Calhoun County mustn’t succumb to those pitfalls. When opportunities for improvement arise, we must seize them — without fail.