Register Now for This Year’s Conference Set for Sept. 12-13 in Montgomery

Sept. 12 and 13 are the date for the 2017 Alabama Workforce Conference, to be held at the Montgomery Renaissance Hotel and Convention Center.

This two-day event will bring together all the pieces of the workforce puzzle in Alabama. The conference will include speakers and panelists who will focus on working together to create and improve workforce solutions. Gov. Kay Ivey is scheduled as the luncheon keynote speaker.

“The 2017 Alabama Workforce Conference represents the first time face-to-face collaboration among all workforce stakeholders has happened since the streamlining of services last year,” said Ed Castile, deputy secretary of Commerce and director of AIDT. “This is just another step Alabama is taking to stay at the top of workforce development across the country.”

The conference will focus on five main areas:

  • Leveraging and Establishing Partnerships. This includes a special emphasis on partnerships identified in the Workforce Innovation and Opportunities Act.
  • Delivering Career Services. Includes motivating clients, intake procedures, providing quality assessment, integrated case management, etc.
  • Business and Economic Development. Includes strategies around regional business partnerships, business engagement and measuring performance of services.
  • Managing Changes. Includes WIOA, the new workforce structure.
  • Priority Population. Includes effective strategies for serving individuals with disabilities, individuals with limited English proficiency, the homeless, veterans and ex-offenders.

Attendees will have an opportunity to network and share best practices with fellow attendees throughout the event. For additional information, including about exhibitor and sponsorship opportunities, click here or call 334-280-4440.

Jacquie Allen, AIDT’s communication director, recently appeared on WSFA/Channel 12’s midday show to discuss the conference. Click the image below to watch the video.


State’s Unemployment Rate Drops to 4.6 Percent

Employment continued to surge in Alabama in June, with the state’s unemployment rate falling to 4.6 percent. That’s down from 4.9 percent in May and from 5.8 percent a year ago.

“Alabama’s unemployment continues to drop, and our economy continues to add jobs,” said Gov. Kay Ivey. “As of now, we are only two-tenths of a percentage point away from catching up to the national unemployment rate. Even though our numbers are improving, I continue to pledge to work even harder to make sure that any Alabamian who wants a job can find one.”

Alabama Department of Labor Secretary Fitzgerald Washington noted
June’s rate represents 100,376 unemployed persons, compared to 107,223 in May and 125,000 in June 2016. There were 2,077,275 people counted as employed in June, down slightly from May’s count of 2,088,502, but well above June 2016’s count of 2,040,370.

“For the third month in a row, we can report that our wage and salary employment is topping 2 million jobs,” Washington said. “This has been a milestone we’ve strived to reach for years, and is an excellent indicator of economic health. We’ve added 46,100 private-sector jobs since January, and our over-the-year job growth rate was 1.8 percent, the highest it’s been in 11 years!”

The last time the yearly growth in wage and salary employment measured more than 1.8 percent was in June 2006, when it measured 2.2 percent.

Wage and salary employment increased in June by 6,000 to 2,016,400. Thus far this year, wage and salary employment has increased 34,800, with large gains in the leisure and hospitality sector (plus 10,800), the professional and business services sector (plus 6,900), and the education and health services sector (plus 6,200).

For more information about June’s employment stats, click here.

Fort Rucker Jobs Fair Features 150 Employers

The 14th annual Fort Rucker Area Job Fair drew more than 150 employers to Enterprise High School last month. For the first time, the job fair was organized and sponsored by the Alabama Department of Labor.
“We’re happy to have been asked, and we’re certainly glad to be a part of this successful longstanding job fair,” said Tara Hutchison, communications director for the ADOL. “We were approached: can you help us? We’ve been doing a successful tour of regional job fairs around the state. We’re drawing large crowds around the state. We’re hoping to bring that success down to the Wiregrass.”

Hutchison said about 800 local job seekers pre-registered for the event. The 150-plus employers that participated in the event had some 3,600 jobs available, she said.

Click the image below to watch WDHN-TV’s coverage of the job fair.

Upcoming Job Fairs

The Alabama Department of Labor is hosting a number of job fairs and job-seeker workshops during the months of August and September. For a listing of upcoming job fairs, please visit www.joblink.alabama.gov.


Josh Laney’s Guest Column: Four-Year Degree Not the Only Pathway to Great Careers in Alabama

A guest column from Josh Laney, senior director for Workforce Development with the Alabama State Department of Education, was recently featured on AL.com and state newspapers. Laney pointed out that the vast majority of available good-paying jobs in the state do not require a four-year college degree.

“What they DO require, however, are applicants who are qualified both fundamentally and technically,” Laney’s column said.

“The most foundational qualifications are identical across all industries and are commonly called ’employability skills,’ ” he wrote. “Showing up on time, being drug free, working as a member of a team and demonstrating a willingness to learn are critical to every company.

“Technical skill requirements are more industry specific and can come in the form of on-the-job training, industry-recognized credentials, stackable certificates, or associate’s degrees from one of Alabama’s outstanding community colleges.”

According to the Alabama Department of Labor, nine of the top 10 jobs that are in most demand require less than a university degree.

Laney also discussed the importance of AlabamaWorks in meeting the needs of industry and promoting economic growth in Alabama.

Read his column here.

ALSDE and AIDT Partner on Pilot Program for Ready to Work Teacher Certification

Employability skills continue to be at the top of the wish list from employers across different
industry sectors and across the state. The Alabama State Department of Education is partnering with AIDT in a pilot program to get high school teachers certified in AIDT’s Ready to Work curriculum.

This newly updated, industry-driven curriculum provides students with training and certification to demonstrate their job-readiness and foundation in essential employability skills. Upon completion of the program, students will also receive the added bonus of a tuition waiver worth one class at an Alabama community college.

The Ready to Work certification for students gives employers an industry-recognized standard by which to gauge potential employees. High school participants will meet the same standards as those earning Ready to Work certification through the Alabama Community College System or directly through AIDT.

For more information on this initiative or to get contact information for a high school in your region participating in the pilot, contact Josh Laney at the Alabama State Department of Education at [email protected].

Career and Technical Education Teachers Attend Conference in Birmingham

More than 2,000 Alabama career and technical education (CTE) teachers, administrators and counselors from school systems across the state took part in the 2017 Alabama CTE Professional Development Conference Aug. 1-3 in Birmingham. The theme of this year’s conference was “I AM CTE – Learning that Works for Alabama.”

Educators at the conference, held at the Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Complex, had the opportunity to participate in more than 60 professional development workshops and special events.

CTE is a national program that works to prepare students for college and the workforce.
Nationally, CTE programs have been shown to significantly reduce high school dropout rates.

CTE focuses on equipping students with professional-level communication, time management and leadership skills. Many of Alabama’s students are now earning specialized academic and workplace credentials through this program. Currently, more than 300,000 students in Alabama participate in CTE classes and its student organizations – FFA, JROTC, SkillsUSA, FBLA-PBL, DECA, HOSA, FCCLA, TSA, and Jobs for Alabama’s Graduates (JAG).

For more information about CTE, go to its page on ALSDE’s website.


U.S. Rep. Roby and ACCS’s Jeff Lynn Announce Partnership With Walmart

U.S. Rep. Martha Roby and Alabama Community College System Vice Chancellor of Workforce and Economic Development Jeff Lynn announced a new partnership involving four of the system’s colleges, the Manufacturing Skills Standards Council and Walmart’s Brundidge, Ala., distribution and fulfillment center.

This fall, students at Lurleen B. Wallace Community College, Chattahoochee Valley Community College, Wallace Community College in Dothan, and Enterprise State Community College will be offered new courses in logistics that will result in nationally recognized industry certifications from the MSSC. Students who complete the coursework and skills training and receive the certifications will move to the top of the list for any new hire opportunities at the Brundidge facility.

The announcement came during an Aug. 11 press conference in Montgomery. Congresswoman Roby highlighted the importance of career technical education on the growth of the economy. “I’m a big believer in career tech programs for three simple reasons: They help prepare students for rewarding careers; they ensure American workers have the necessary training for skilled trades that are foundational to our society; and they boost local economies by producing a quality workforce,” Roby said.

The MSSC certifications include the Certified Logistics Associate (CLA) and the Certified Logistics Technician (CLT). They address the core technical competencies of front‐line material handling and distribution workers in all supply-chain facilities, including factories, warehouses, distribution centers, and transporters.

In addition to the logistics courses, students will receive skills training through Alabama’s Ready to Work program, which provides trainees with entry-level skills required for employment with most businesses and industries in Alabama.

“Our work with Walmart and MSSC is a perfect example of how the Alabama Community College System can partner with the business community to help address their need for a workforce with specific skills and training,” Lynn said. “It’s a win-win. Walmart will have a direct pipeline of highly-skilled, workforce-ready applicants, and our students will have the competitive edge in obtaining employment upon completion of their certification.”

Leo Reddy, chairman and CEO of the Manufacturing Skills Standard Council, commended all involved. “I would like to congratulate the Alabama Community College System on its decision to support the training and certification of MSSC-certified logistics associates to take advantage of Walmart Logistics’ decision to give a hiring preference and an interview to CLA-credentialed job applicants,” Reddy said. “This opens an exciting career pathway opportunity in supply-chain logistics for Alabama youth while also meeting the need of Walmart Logistics for higher-skilled associates committed to building a future at Walmart.”

Students interested in learning more about the new courses and certifications should contact the Alabama Community College System college near them.

ACCS Launches Statewide Effort to Address Manufacturing Skills Gap

The Alabama Community College System has begun an Instrumentation Technician Program in Mobile. The program is the result of meetings with several local companies that indicated the need for multi-craft E&I (electrical and instrumentation) technicians. It is a non-credit, accelerated eight- to 10-month program designed by industry experts to increase the instrumentation skills of incumbent workers. The current class is offered twice a week at night to allow participating employees to remain working. The training is taking place at the AIDT training center at Brookley Field.

The Instrumentation Technician program was designed around equipment employees who will work on a daily basis in process industries. Participants will be trained on the actual equipment, from specific hand-held testing meters to in-field instruments. The curriculum and training equipment were designed and selected by the participants’ employers. In addition to equipment purchased by the ACCS, some of the process meters and equipment were donated by industry.

“Flexibility is key to ensure competencies are achieved to create a multi-craft E&I employee,” said Brad James of the Alabama Technology Network. “Participants are given prep- and post-assessments on each module. Based on the assessment outcomes, the speed of the program can be adjusted to confirm that the participants attain the needed skills. This flexibility to speed up or slow down provides assurance that the participants retain the instrumentation skills, providing them with more opportunities for growth at their respective employers.

For more information, contact James at [email protected].


Gov. Ivey Celebrates New HVAC Center

Gov. Kay Ivey, other state officials and local leaders were on hand last month at a press conference in Jasper to highlight the partnership between Bevill State Community College and Alabama Power on a new HVAC Training Center. The Jasper center will train people in heating, ventilation and air conditioning.

The press conference was held at the old HTNA building along Industrial Parkway, which will house the HVAC center. BSCC President Dr. Kim Ennis, Alabama Community College System Chancellor Jimmy Baker, Sen. Greg Reed (R-Jasper) and Alabama Power CEO Mark Crosswhite joined Gov. Ivey at the conference. Ennis, Crosswhite and Baker signed a memorandum of understanding and joint program development agreement to solidify the partnership between Alabama Power and BSCC for the training facility, Jasper’s Daily Mountain Eagle reported.

“This is a very important event today for our area, for Walker County, for Jasper and our whole entire region,” said Ennis. “Projects like this are the model for public and private partnerships that advance training and education for citizens of the area and help drive economic development.”

Ennis said Alabama Power has longstanding partnerships with the college, including a mine safety training program that is the only one of its kind in the state and a technical training center in Sumiton.

Alabama Power will relocate its current HVAC Training Center in Clanton to Jasper, and Bevill State will retrofit the old HTNA building to include six classrooms, six laboratory areas, six or more offices and an auditorium to accommodate more than 100 students.

“The best investment in economic development is an investment in education,” Ivey said. “If we don’t have a qualified, effective, up-to-date workforce, then the top companies will not come to Alabama no matter what we do. A well-trained workforce is essential.”

Baker said new training facilities, like the one in Jasper, will improve Alabama’s economic strength.

“I’m excited about knowing that we’re working on other projects across the state that will lend themselves to providing that skilled labor force so we can tell companies, organizations that we have a skilled labor force, we have a quality labor force and we can service your needs,” Baker said. “That way we don’t have to buy everything we get.”

Read the Daily Mountain Eagle story here.

Also, click on the image below to watch WVTM/Channel 13’s report on the center and the governor’s visit.

West AlabamaWorks, WIOA Form One Board

Federal and state regional entities joined forces in Tuscaloosa this month to discuss ways to reduce and eliminate the prospective employer/potential employee gap. Representatives of West AlabamaWorks met Aug. 2 with members representing the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act to form one united WIOA board. West AlabamaWorks became the first Regional Workforce Council to combine the industry-led workforce council with the federally-funded WIOA board.

Gary Nichols, chief operating officer of McAbee Construction and chairman of West AlabamaWorks and local workforce development board chair of WIOA, said there are thousands of good-paying jobs in the region that need to be filled by 2019. “It is important for every stakeholder and provider in workforce development to come together to guide the flow of dollars toward training, job seekers and those industries in desperate need of a qualified workforce,” said Nichols.

WIOA is a federally-funded program designed to improve our nation’s public workforce system and help Americans obtain high-quality jobs and careers. The program also helps youth and those with significant barriers to employment. In addition, WIOA assists employers in hiring and retaining skilled workers.

To watch WBRC/Fox 6’s story on the need for more workers in West Alabama, click the image below.


  • Alabama Unemployment Low, Part-Time Jobs Up, But Why? AL.com
  • Southeast AlabamaWorks Connects with Businesses and Job Seekers. Alabama News Network
  • Gov. Ivey Delivers for Planned Workforce Development Center. Times-Daily, Florence
  • Nissan Mississippi Workers Vote Heavily Against Unionization. Reuters
  • First Jobs Open for Amazon Center Being Built in Mobile Area. AL.com
  • Forestry Still a Key in Alabama’s Economy. Times-Daily, Florence
  • Group Wants to Bolster Workforce With Rehabilitated Felons. Gadsden Times
  • Southeast AlabamaWorks Aims to Help Area Businesses. Southeast Sun, Enterprise
  • Commentary: Worker-Friendly or Business-Friendly? States Face False Choice, Says Gov. Ivey. CNBC
  • Bill Ashley Named President of Shelton State. Tuscaloosa News
  • Dr. Reginald Sykes Appointed Chancellor of Bishop State Community College. Fox 10, Mobile
  • $1M Federal Grant Goes to Alabama Workforce Database. Franklin County Times
  • Rep. Sewell Host Job Fair at UWA. Tuscaloosa News
  • Dual Enrollment Offers Big Return. Brewton Standard
  • Career Expo Scheduled for Sept. 14-15. Opelika Observer
  • New Bevill State President Won’t Be Named Until Fall. Daily Mountain Eagle
  • Troy Program Helps Teachers Make Math, Science Lessons Relevant. Dothan Eagle
  • John Norris: Why has Alabama’s employment rate spiked so dramatically? Montgomery Advertiser
  • Bolta Marks New Plant’s Opening. Tuscaloosa News
  • ROAD WARRIORS: Jobs in Trucking Industry Remain Plentiful. News Courier, Athens
  • Alabama Auto Sector Primed for Growth With $1 Billion in New Investment. Made in Alabama
  • CSX Designates Alabama Location a “Select Site.” Progressive Railroading
  • Three Appointed to Serve on Central AlabamaWorks! Selma Times-Journal
  • Cleve Poole: Opportunity is Knocking. Linked-In
  • Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey Unveils First Big Issue Important to Her: Education. AL.com
  • UAB Partners With Calhoun Community College to Offer Joint Admission. AL.com
  • Matt Rodgers Named Enterprise State Community College President. Southeast Sun, Enterprise
  • Mobile Works Changes Name to “Southwest Alabama Partnership for Training Employment.” Fox 10, Mobile
  • Mercedes-Benz Plant Expansion on Track for 2018 Production Start. AL.com
  • Alabama Commerce Secretary: State Working Projects With More Than 11,000 Jobs. Alabama News Center
  • Business Facilities Gives High Rankings to Alabama, Cities. Made in Alabama
  • Wolverine Tube to Reopen, Bringing 250 Jobs. Decatur Daily
  • Company Expansions Mean 265 New Jobs for North Alabama. AL.com
  • Local Effort Helps Make Alabama No. 2 in Workforce Development. Alex City Outlook
  • Wiregrass Works Transitioning for Expansion. WTVY TV, Dothan
  • HVAC Industry Leaders Discuss How to Attract Young People. WDHN TV, Dothan
  • IT Services Firm Provalus To Create 300 Jobs At Brewton Facility. WKRG TV, Mobile
  • Rhode Island Becomes Fourth State To Make Community College Free. WKRG TV, Mobile
  • Italian Company Embraces Tuskegee Airmen Legacy in Bid for Jet Contract. AL.com
  • “Minnie Van”: Redesigned Alabama-Built Odyssey Makes Memorable Debut. Made in Alabama
  • Wallace Community College Adds Industrial Welding to List of Technological Programs. WDHN TV, Dothan

The Alabama Workforce Council
The Alabama Workforce Council (AWC) serves as an advisory body in reviewing potential policies, recommending structure and alignment, developing innovative educational workforce programming, and discussing issues critical to the workforce development needs in Alabama.