• 70°

Image Entry: larbor survey begins Thursday

In cooperation with the Butler County Commission for Economic Development and the City of Georgiana, the London, Ky., based Image Entry will be conducting a labor survey of the area work force this week at the former PrideCraft building in Georgiana, and community leaders are encouraging everyone who might be seeking work to participate.

Georgiana Mayor Lynn Harold Watson said the labor survey is important to the community because it will give the data processing company an in-depth look at the work history and qualifications of the available labor pool in the area, and could determine whether the industry decides to locate here or not.

"We have a good chance of getting a substantial company in here that does data processing," Watson said. "But it is important for people to remember that there are a lot of other jobs in this industry besides data entry."

Watson said company officials will be gathering data on individuals qualified to perform

a variety of tasks including managerial, clerical, supervisory and mailroom personnel, and forklift operators. The survey has been promoted in a seven-county area, and Watson said he hopes to pull potential employees from within a 40-mile radius of Georgiana.

"We have been getting the word out not only in Butler County, but also parts of Crenshaw, Covington, Conecuh, Monroe, Wilcox and Lowndes counties," he said. "And we expect substantial numbers of people to come in from those areas."

Watson said participants in the survey will be asked to fill out a brief form that highlights previous experience, work history, salary range and special qualifications. Officials from Image Entry will be on hand for one-to-one interviews with participants, and will also present a company video to better explain what the company does.

Image Entry President and CEO Bill Deaton, himself a native of the rural South, said his company tends to look for labor in rural areas because he believes these areas offer an untapped resource for trainable people with good work ethics.

"Coming to Alabama is real exciting for us because we feel like we've found an area where we can find a quality work force," Deaton said. "The Alabama facility will not only help fulfill obligations we already have in the state, but will also help us increase our presence in that region of the country."

Image Entry was recently awarded the contract to process personal income tax returns for the state of Alabama, but Deaton said the company also does this type of work for major corporations around the state. He said Image Entry currently employs around 1,100 people in Kentucky, Tennessee and Indiana, and is seeking to eventually hire around 200 in Alabama.

Deaton said Image Entry, which was founded in 1992, has grown by 77 percent each year since its beginning. During 1998 through 1999, Deaton said the company doubled in size.

He said the company conducts labor surveys of this type each time it expands in an effort to gauge whether or not the area work force can provide a sustainable amount of labor to support his company's needs.

"Our purpose is to try and understand the labor force available and what the skill set of that labor force is," Deaton said. "This way we can try and match the jobs we need done to the people that would be doing it."

The labor survey will be held Thursday, Friday and Saturday, April 27, 28 and 29, at the former PrideCraft building on Highway 31 South in Georgiana. Organizers have set extended hours during the visit to accommodate people working all shifts. Applications will be accepted on Thursday, April 27 from 1 p.m. to 8 p.m., on Friday, April 28 from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday April 29 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.