Upcoming Events

Grassroots Meeting 2017: Thank You Autauga County!


County Extension Coordinator Darrue Sharpe presents information about ACES programs and services.

The annual Grassroots Meeting held by the Autauga County office of the Alabama Cooperative Extension System (ACES) received great support on July 13,2017.

Autauga County residents learned about programs offered by Regional Extension Agents and Autauga County Extension Coordinator, Darrue Sharpe. Participants asked questions of Extension Agents, elected state and county officials, and service group leaders.

If you were unable to attend and would like to submit your thoughts about the needs of Autauga County residents, please complete this survey at this link ACES Survey.

Extension PREPing Others for Employment

job application

When competing for employment, preparation is key to make sure you stand out among other applicants. The Alabama Cooperative Extension System is helping people do just that through its Promoting Readiness for Employment Possibilities employment preparation program.

According to the Alabama Department of Labor, in February 2015, the civilian labor force totaled 2,111,624. This number combines all Alabama residents ages 16 and older who identify themselves as either employed, unemployed or seeking employment.

While these numbers may seem overwhelming, Alabama Extension understands the simple truth that prior preparation prevents poor performance.

Promoting Readiness for Employment Possibilities (PREP) is an initiative created under Extension’s Urban Affairs and New Nontraditional Programs unit. The program is designed to equip participants with information to effectively increase their chances of acquiring a job.

The PREP program is designed for adults and high school seniors who are entering the workforce. The ultimate goal is to make sure participants are prepared to be their best self and are ready to be employed upon the completion of the program.

Building resumes, completing job applications, interview skills and professional image are the four areas in the PREP toolkit. The toolkit was developed by the Financial Literacy Across the Lifespan Strategic Program Initiative Team of Alabama Extension and includes interactive materials and take-away products that reinforce the concepts presented in the program.

Heidi Tilenius, county Extension coordinator for Lauderdale County, is one of several agents presenting the PREP program to those interested in expanding their knowledge of what employers are looking for in new hires.

Tilenius, who has been with Extension since July 2013, connects well with the program. Prior to her Extension work, she spent four years working with students at the University of North Alabama (UNA) in career planning and helping get students ready to enter the workforce upon graduation.

“The PREP program is key because people have to be employed,” said Tilenius. “You have to have income to be able to provide for your family.”

Tilenius believes self-awareness and networking is necessary throughout the employment search. She encourages people beginning their employment search to create a list of 50 people they know and where each of these people work.

“You have to know what skills you can provide and how those fit into what the employer is looking for,” said Tilenius. “Your fastest trip to your next job is the network of people you have.”

PREParing a Job Application

Tilenius noted that when filling out a job application, it is important to fill out the entire application. It is important to be able to show an employer that you can follow instructions, and the first way you can do that is by completing the job application fully.

“The employer is looking through hundreds of applications,” said Tilenius. “They’ll scan right past yours if you can’t follow simple directions.”

PREParing Your Resume

When it comes to resumes, it is critical to remember it is not a one-size-fits-all document. Your resume is the place where you can show how what you have contributed to previous positions can be applied to the available employment opportunities.

Looking at the job description for the position is crucial when constructing your resume. It is very common for companies using an applicant tracking system to scan through applications and resumes to find the best fit.

“Take the job description and construct your resume based on what the employer is looking for,” said Tilenius. “The better you can match up in the applicant tracking system, the higher your chances of being called in for an interview.”

PREParing for an Interview

The PREP program’s toolkit provides a list of questions applicants should be able to answer in an interview situation. The program encourages participants not only to look over the questions, but also to take time to write out the answers to the questions.

“When you are in an interview and you freeze up, chances are you will remember the thoughts you took the time to write down,” said Tilenius. “Preparation is the key word when it comes to interviews.”

PREParing Your Personal Appearance

Although there are several varying opinions when it comes to the appropriate dress for interviews, Tilenius believes that there is never an excuse to not be neat and clean.

“You want to dress for the next level up,” said Tilenius. “It is a good idea to make sure your clothes are ironed and pressed. You aren’t owed a job, so make sure you show the company that you respect them, and will be able to represent them well in any position.”

At the end of the day, the PREP program is working hard to put Alabamians to work. And thanks to Tilenius, and other regional agents, Alabama Extension is succeeding in making employment for many a reality across the state.

By: Valerie Cashin, Extension Daily

Agri-Tourism in Alabama

zucchini, tomatoes, bell peppers, eggplant, rhubarb, beans in the foreground, people buying and selling under umbrellas in soft focus in the background

Agri-tourism can take many forms. Roadside stands and farmers’ markets offer farm-fresh produce and interaction with growers. Farms may open to the public for wildlife watching and hunting. Ag tours, on farm bed-and-breakfasts, and dude ranches give tourists the fresh air, open space, and relaxation of country life.

U-pick operations, pumpkin patches, Christmas tree farms, hay mazes, farm-animal petting zoos, wine tasting, ag heritage museums, festivals, and fairs all attract visitors.

Find your Agri-Tourism destination today!

Fall Landowner Tour

Fall Landowner Tour

The Fall Landowner Tour promotes good stewardship of Autauga County’s natural resources. The tour offered more than 90 landowners, natural resources professionals and other interested Autauga county residents, an opportunity to spend the day on Dr. Jones’ property to learn about how Dr. Jones actively manages the following: warm season grasses, forestry thinning, herbicide usage, prescribed burning, mulching, and Quail habitat management. Special “Thanks” to the Autauga Forestry, Wildlife, and Stewardship Council and tour sponsors.

Farm Safety Day & Farm City Week Kids Tour

Picture5Communities nationwide — including Autauga County — celebrate and spread agricultural awareness during Progressive Agriculture Safety Day and Farm City Week , which focuses on connecting rural and urban residents, promoting safety, and reducing injuries and/or fatalities on farms.

This year, 1,325 Autauga County public, private, and home schooled students participated in hands-on activities that included: live animals and exhibits, farm and home related activities such as chemical safety, roadway safety, hidden hazards, helmet safety, disability awareness, home alone, internet safety, fire safety, and Think Your Drink– which focused on thinking about beverage choices. Special “Thanks” to the Autauga County Commission for support of this Community Resource Development program.

Basic Computer Usage & Social Networking Workshops for Seniors



The Basic Computer Usage and Social Networking Workshops offer senior Autauga County residents an opportunity to learn some of the basics for using computers including: Internet search tutorials, using e-mail, and safely navigating social networking sites.

If you are one of our growing number of mature adults over 50,  60 , 70, or in retirement, why not try our free hands – on workshops now?  Whether you’re retired, or an adult learning for the home or workplace, our workshops will take your social, personal, family, or career to the next level.  Call 361.7273 or visit our Calendar of Events to find the next workshop location and dates.image (5)

Community Resource Development program, “Yellow Dot”

Yellow Dot Autauga County - Bus Drivers Enrollment4 (2)

150 of Autauga County School System’s bus drivers signed up for Yellow Dot, a free program providing potentially life-saving information to first responders in the event of a vehicle crash.

Drivers’ photographs were taken and they completed personal forms with emergency contact and medical information. A Yellow Dot decal is placed on the back, bottom-left, window of each school bus, and a packet of medical information is placed behind each driver’s seat.

Ms. Lora Weaver, Yellow Dot coordinator for the State of Alabama, thanked County Extension  Coordinator Yvonne Bowens-Thomas for her work getting the Autauga County School System to embrace the program.  “Because of your efforts, we may begin seeing Yellow Dots on all school buses throughout the state”, Ms. Weaver stated.    Special “Thanks” to the Autauga County Commission for support of this Community Resource Development program.

For more information on the Yellow Dot Program go to:  www.facebook.com/AlabamaYellowDot.