Alabama’s Ready-to-Work program is coming to Cherokee County in the form of a mobile classroom. In coordination with Gadsden State Cherokee, the Cherokee County Chamber of Commerce and East AlabamaWorks, the mobile unit will offer free classes to learn the employability skills necessary to get a job in today’s environment.

The program was created in conjunction with the Alabama Industrial Development Training, an agency overseen by the state’s Secretary of Commerce. Using a mobile unit with desks, computers and wireless internet, it has set up shop in different regions across the state to help communities learn the skills they need to find employment. Trainees are provided with entry-level skills required for employment with most businesses and industries in Alabama.

On Monday, a truck hauled the unit from Montgomery to a plot of grass outside the Leesburg Town Hall on Industrial Boulevard, where it will be stationed for the next three months.

Representatives from Gadsden State, the Chamber and East AlabamaWorks were on site as the truck was delivered and shared details about what the classes would provide for the community.

Carl Brady, workforce program manager for East AlabamaWorks, said the curriculum follows six training modules and ACT WorkKeys. Those include things like technology basics, budgeting basics, verbal and nonverbal skills, workplace ethics and safety, problem solving, resume writing and interview skills, among others.

The classes are open to anyone over age 18 and are free, Gadsden State Cherokee Campus Director Luanne Hayes said. As AIDT works with community colleges across the state to facilitate the Ready to Work program, instructors from Gadsden State will lead the classes once they are up and running.

While organizers hope to begin the classes by the end of this month, they are planning to run three four-week sessions, with classes to be held Monday through Thursday each week. They also are not exclusively for Leesburg residents.

“It’s not just for Cherokee County residents,” Chamber Executive Director Tereasa Hulgan said. “We welcome anyone from Etowah County, DeKalb — everywhere.”

Once a job seeker has completed the course, he or she will receive two credentials that are recognized across the industry. A National Career Readiness Certificate issued by ACT and an Alabama Certified Work Certificate issued by AIDT will show employers that a candidate is hirable.

“It shows an employer that they’re serious about getting a job,” Brady said.

He said that although unemployment is at record lows, the Ready to Work curriculum could benefit the community. He added that in this region, only 52% of the eligible workforce — meaning those aged 16 to 65 who are not disabled, in the military or on government assistance — are working.

“Even though there’s a low unemployment rate, there are still some people out there who need job skill training,” Brady said, adding that even those with a job could still benefit, as another portion of the community is underemployed.

“This is a step for them to get that better job,” he said.

Hayes and Hulgan said they were grateful to the Alabama Department of Commerce and to the town of Leesburg, who are allowing them to house the mobile unit just off the highway for three months.