c. 1. A description of the localities and populations for which projects of the type authorized by title V are most needed. (20 CFR 641.325 (d))
Alabama is comprised of sixty-seven counties with a 2017 population estimate of 4,850,771 residents. The most populated counties include Jefferson, Mobile, Madison, Montgomery, and Shelby County. Twenty of the 67 counties in Alabama meet the threshold for persistent unemployment, which is met when the annual average unemployment rate for a county is more than twenty percent higher than the national average for two out of the last three years. The following counties have persistent unemployment indicating a significant barrier to employment:
|Barbour County - AL|
|Bullock County - AL|
|Butler County - AL|
|Calhoun County - AL|
|Choctaw County - AL|
|Clarke County - AL|
|Conecuh County - AL|
|Dallas County - AL|
|Greene County - AL|
|Hale County - AL|
|Lowndes County - AL|
|Macon County - AL|
|Marengo County - AL|
|Mobile County - AL|
|Monroe County - AL|
|Perry County - AL|
|Pickens County - AL|
|Sumter County - AL|
|Washington County - AL|
|Wilcox County - AL|
Forty-five percent of the state’s SCSEP-eligible population is rural. SCSEP’s definition of rural is based on Rural Urban Commuting Area (RUCA) codes, defined at the census tract level. Forty-three of Alabama’s 67 counties have 100 percent rural populations.
Rural Service Delivery Challenges and Strategies to Address These Challenges
Grantees’ greatest obstacles to providing SCSEP services in rural areas and assisting participants to find unsubsidized jobs are all related to shortages: of resources, services, and jobs, particularly in more isolated areas.
Lack of Adequate Transportation
Lack of adequate transportation significantly hinders SCSEP service delivery in rural areas. Area Agencies on Aging have identified transportation as the number one priority need for seniors in their annual plans. The minimal transportation available in small towns is on-demand assistance geared toward persons with disabilities and to taking people to doctor appointments.
Although the majority of SCSEP participants drive their own cars, for those who do not have cars or are no longer able to drive, the lack of transportation poses a significant barrier to SCSEP participation and to finding and retaining unsubsidized employment.
Strategies that Grantees will employ to address rural transportation needs include the following:
- Seek to place participants and rotate participants in community service assignments as close as possible to their residences.
- Seek host agency assignments that have transportation resources. Grantees will contact school districts and child care networks/facilities to determine in which rural areas the school bus is a feasible alternative. For example, if community service assignments with a school district or child care facility are feasible and appropriate for participants’ career goals, Grantees will seek to negotiate with agencies to enable participants to use the same bus or van transportation provided for children to travel to and from their community service assignments Faith-based organizations providing community services may be able to serve as host agencies and provide transportation.