Advance Financial gives county money for workforce development

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

By Karen Hall


County officials were pleased to receive a check for $1,000 from a business which is new in town, but eager to contribute to the community.

Advance Financial presented the check to County Mayor Joe Boyd Liggett and Mike Wiles, executive director of the Joint Economic and Community Development Board, Tuesday morning.

"We'll put it to good use," exclaimed Wiles.

Liggett explained they would put the money toward a new program for high school students who are going directly into the labor force after graduation.

"We recognize there's a need to introduce high school students into the work force," said Liggett. "We need to introduce them to the facts of work ethic, keeping drug free, and learning citizenship. We want them to be part of the community, not just laborers," he said.

"This is something we've been talking about trying," Liggett added, and now the donation from Advance Financial makes it possible.

The program will be led and directed by Wiles and Tony Beyer, a member of the Work Force Board.

Wiles recalled his first work experience.

"I started on the midnight shift at CKNA," he said. "I thought: what have I got myself into?"

"That's what Jim's going to say this time next year," joked Liggett, referring to State Sen. Jim Tracy's bid to be elected to congress.

Tracy was also there for the presentation, and thanked Advance Financial for their investment in Marshall County and their willingness to contribute to the community.

"I'm very proud for that investment," he said. "Getting our students prepared to be part of the work force is very important."

Cullen Earnest, Advance Financial's vice president of public policy and communications, was on hand to make the presentation.

"Advance's biggest issue is finding people to come work for us," said Earnest.

"Our industry hasn't always had a high standing in the community," he continued. "We're really working to change that image, and one way to do that is to contribute to the communities" where Advance has an office. Earnest told Liggett and Wiles that all Advance employees have 40 hours of paid volunteer service time to spend in the community, and urged the men to make use of them.