c. 6. A. Reside in urban and rural areas within the State
About 90% of Alabama’s total land surface is considered rural, with 43 of 67 counties counting being classified as rural. According to the 2010 U.S. Census, 41% of the total population lives in these rural areas.
It is the goal of all grantees operating the SCSEP program in Alabama to serve rural and urban areas equitably. While we are managing to provide services in each of the rural counties we serve, it is becoming increasingly more of an issue, due to the economy. More time is required to work with those residing in rural counties, due to the increased travel time needed to reach these participants. We are working to partner with community-based organizations and state agencies in rural areas to provide services that would benefit our seniors.
Because education is a key element to gainful employment, we will encourage partnerships with universities, community colleges, and local communities to work with sub-grantees in rural areas to provide better training mechanisms, including online classes and distance learning. A major focus will include changing the public’s negative attitude and stereotypes about older workers through education and best practices programs; and promoting the advantages of hiring older workers, especially in rural areas, to public and private sector employers.
Rural and urban SCSEP participants in Alabama need greater transportation options. Access to transportation has a direct impact on a participant’s ability to secure and retain employment.
In a related initiative dealing with rural/urban populations, ADSS is working with the Federal Transportation Administration on the United We Ride (UWR) program, because transportation is a huge barrier for seniors in general and particularly for low income seniors who want to work.