Mayor's Minute: April 2016 Featured

For our children, the world has never been a more difficult and complex place, especially as it relates to the value of an education. According to most experts, two out of three jobs created in the next 25 years will require a minimum of a two-year degree with a heavy concentration of digital literacy.

Technology is creating a doubled-edge sword in forecasting the next generation of job opportunities. On one end, we have individuals who do well in school and are well versed in the digital revolution, thus they are poised to succeed. Conversely, for those who fail to achieve academic success, low skill jobs are disappearing from the landscape rapidly. The next time you visit Home Depot or Lowe’s notice the amount of self-check-out lines, as just one small example.

This new dynamic has forced public education to accelerate the learning curve which has the unintended consequence of leaving too many of our children behind.  To that end, that is why I am so passionate about the Tuscaloosa Pre-K Initiative (TPI). Created in 2006, TPI was formed to expand and enhance the Tuscaloosa City Schools existing pre-k program which was limited in classrooms, but limitless in achieving success.

Today, we have 250 academically at-risk four-year olds who are being provided an invaluable opportunity to be reading to learn instead of learning to read by the time they reach third grade. The benefits of pre-k programs are boundless, but state funding is scarce. Understanding this dynamic, TPI has been a model of public-private success with so many heroes such as the University of Alabama, United Way, Tuscaloosa City Council, Tuscaloosa City Schools, Mercedes-Benz USI, and countless citizens such as Tom Joyner and Jim Harrison Jr. who have invested time, talent and treasure.

Fundraising and awareness are critical elements of TPI which is why we created the Tuscaloosa Mayor’s Cup 5K in 2007.

Since our first race, we have raised $171,000 which has gone directly into the classroom. This year’s 10th Annual Mayor’s Cup 5K and 10K, which is being presented by Mercedes-Benz, will be held on Saturday, April 23 at Government Plaza. We’ve even included a 10k option for those looking for more of a challenge.

Whether you want to set a personal record or simply walk the course to enjoy a great day in Tuscaloosa, your participation makes a real difference in lives of our next generation.

For more information and registration, check out or contact Tuscaloosa 311 at (205) 248-5311.

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Druid City Living (DCL) is Tuscaloosa, Alabama's premier community newspaper, covering the great people, places and activities of the area.



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