Coca-Cola Launches Dear Future Tuscaloosa, a $30,000 Community Challenge to Local Young Adults

Tuscaloosa Coca-Cola and its parent Coca-Cola Bottling Company UNITED are introducing “Dear Future Tuscaloosa,” an ambitious challenge to young adults to come up with innovative ideas to address job skills needs and career readiness for Tuscaloosa area residents. The Chamber of Commerce of West Alabama and West Alabama Works are partnering with Coca-Cola on the local challenge and will help select and execute the winning idea.

Tuscaloosa is one of 15 cities that The Coca-Cola Company USA selected for its national “Dear Future Challenge,” an initiative that encourages people to join in locally based efforts to renew and strengthen communities across America. The local Tuscaloosa Coca-Cola team is proud to host this challenge as they are committed to playing an active role in the community they not only serve every day but also where they too live and work.

“Jobs today require more specialized skills and education than ever before, and we see this so clearly in our community,” said Kevin Horton, Tuscaloosa Coca-Cola sales center manager.   “Dear Future Tuscaloosa is an effort to engage the energy and passion of young people to take a leadership role in helping identify ways to ensure that Tuscaloosa residents are career ready and have the job skills needed for the jobs of today, as well as the jobs of the future.”

Joining Coca-Cola in issuing and executing this challenge are the Chamber of Commerce of West Alabama and West Alabama Works. Both are highly reputable leaders for understanding the region’s workforce opportunities and local industry needs of today and tomorrow. As partners, the Chamber and West Alabama Works will help select and workshop the winning idea and mentor the change maker to bring the idea to life.

“As an advocate for education and workforce development across the region, the Chamber of Commerce of West Alabama and West Alabama Works are pleased to partner with Coca-Cola in the Dear Future Tuscaloosa Initiative,” says Donny Jones, Chief Operating Officer of the Chamber and Executive Director of West Alabama Works. “We are excited to see the innovative ideas our young people develop to move their own community forward in the area of career readiness, and we look forward to mentoring the challenge winner in bringing his or her game changing idea to life.”

Given the strong presence of colleges and universities in the Tuscaloosa area, Coca-Cola and its partners are engaging students on the local campuses. For example, the University of Alabama’s Blackburn Institute, a leadership development and civic engagement program, incorporated the Dear Future Tuscaloosa challenge during their annual symposium by hosting a mini-workshop on grant writing to help students develop those skills and to submit their game changing ideas.

To participate in the Dear Future Tuscaloosa challenge, young adults ages 18 to 24 can submit their ideas on how to ensure residents are receiving the job skill training required for today’s career opportunities online or in person this week through the Dear Future Community Hub. The Dear Future Community Hub is an on-site idea generator that will be in Tuscaloosa August 28 to September 1 at various locations including the University of Alabama, Stillman College, and Shelton State Community College.

After the program closes in mid-October, the submissions will be evaluated and an award of $30,000 will be made to one change making idea. The change maker behind the winning idea will be paired with local partners – the Chamber of West Alabama, West Alabama Works, Coca-Cola Scholars – who will mentor them and help them turn their vision into reality. Details on the program and submission can be found by visiting www.coke.com/dearfuturecommunity.

 

About The Coca-Cola Bottling Company UNITED

Coca-Cola Bottling Company United, Inc., founded in 1902 and headquartered in Birmingham, Alabama, is the second largest privately held Coca-Cola bottler in North America and the third largest bottler of Coca-Cola products in the United States. Coca-Cola UNITED has approximately 10,000 associates located in more than 60 facilities across six southeastern states (Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi and Tennessee).  Among the franchises operated by Coca-Cola UNITED is Tuscaloosa Coca-Cola, which serves the greater Tuscaloosa community, including The University of Alabama, Shelton State Community College and Stillman College.  Other noteworthy franchises within Coca-Cola UNITED include Chattanooga, the world’s first Coca-Cola bottler, and Atlanta, headquarters of the worldwide Coca-Cola System. 

The Company is engaged in the production, marketing and distribution of a diverse portfolio of leading sparkling (Coca-Cola®, Diet Coke®, Coke Zero Sugar®, Dr Pepper®, Sprite® and Fanta®) and still (smartwater®, Dasani®, POWERADE®, Gold Peak®, Monster® and Minute Maid®) non-alcoholic brands under exclusive franchise agreements principally with The Coca-Cola Company® and Dr Pepper Snapple Group®. 

For more than 116 years, local relationships, personalized customer service, and strong community engagement have been the foundation of its business.  Since inception, Coca-Cola UNITED has remained true to its foundational core values of: Quality, Excellence, Integrity and Respect. www.cocacolaunited.com.

About The Chamber of Commerce of West Alabama

The Chamber of Commerce of West Alabama is a Tuscaloosa County-based pro-business advocacy organization serving more than 65,000 working men and women through more than 1,350 business enterprises, civic organizations, and educational institutions.

The mission of the Chamber of Commerce of West Alabama is to provide the leadership, vision, and catalyst for the advancement of the economic prosperity, business climate, and quality of life for the entire community.

About West Alabama Works

The Region 3 Workforce Development Council, in partnership with the Chamber of Commerce of West Alabama, formed West Alabama Works to lead workforce development efforts throughout West Alabama. The regional workforce development system facilitates and implements a comprehensive, coordinated, seamless workforce development system for the region and supports workforce training activities. With a mission to promote economic prosperity throughout West Alabama by providing support services to business and industry and job seekers, West Alabama Works serves as the region’s central hub for workforce development efforts and training.