Group poses for image at Facebook groundbreaking event

FB Friends AL

Facebook announced that it is in vesting $750 million to build a new data center in Huntsville.

Gov. Kay Ivey announced the project during a news conference in Huntsville. Ivey’s office said the $750 million center will employ 100 people with an average annual salary of nearly $80,000.

Ivey said she was pleased that a “forward-thinking, major company like Facebook” was putting down roots in the state.

“Every day millions of people go on Facebook to connect with family and friends and I sure am glad that when Facebook was looking to grow its data connections they sent a friend request to Alabama,” Ivey said. “Thank you for picking Alabama.”

Facebook created a page about the project. The social media giant said the 970,000-square-foot data center will begin operations in 2020.

Matt VanderZanden, director of site selection at Facebook, said during the news conference that the Huntsville site was attractive because of a strong talent pool and availability of clean and renewable energy.

“We are so happy to be joining the Huntsville community. As one of the fastest-growing tech hubs in the country, we knew it would be a great location for our newest data center,” VanderZanden said.

The project has been under development for the last year and was originally called by the codename “Starbelt.” The Huntsville City Council last month gave unanimous approval for Starbelt to purchase 340 acres at the city’s industrial park for $8.5 million.

Photo: Governor Kay Ivey, fifth from right, and Department of Commerce Secretary Greg Canfield, far right, lead the ceremonial groundbreaking for the FaceBook facility in Huntsville.

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Amazon Sends Bessemer a Prime Delivery!

Amazon logo

Internet retail giant Amazon confirmed plans to open a fulfillment center in Jefferson County with 1,500 full-time employees working alongside advanced robotics technology.

Amazon will build the 855,000-square-foot facility on 133 acres of property being purchased from U.S. Steel off Powder Plant Road in Bessemer, just minutes away from Birmingham. Investment in the project is expected to be $325 million.

Read more at Alabama News Center.

Second-Chance Job Fair Attracts Crowd

Group poses for image at Second Chance Job Fair

More than 1,100 job seekers and 80 employers participated in the Second Chance Job Fair, hosted by the Alabama Career System, the City of Birmingham, the Alabama Department of Labor, the Alabama Department of Corrections, the Alabama Department of Pardons and Paroles and the Wright Way Company at the Bill Harris Arena in Birmingham on May 30.

The event was specifically created for those with barriers to employment, such as incarceration, addictions, vague work history and disadvantaged backgrounds, among others.

“We are. committed to putting Alabamians to work, regardless of what barriers they may or may not face. Any Alabamian who wants to work should be able to have an opportunity to find work,” said Labor Secretary Fitzgerald Washington.

The Alabama Career Center System’s mobile career center, along with staff from area centers, were also on hand to assist job seekers in applying for jobs.

Photo: Jefferson Dunn, Alabama Department of Corrections; Lyn Head, Alabama Department of Pardons and Paroles; Deon Wright, The Wright Way Co.; and, Fitzgerald Washington, secretary, Department of Labor.

Wage and Salary Employment at 10-Year High; People in Workforce at 11-Year High

Alabama Department of Labor Secretary Fitzgerald Washington announced today that Alabama’s wage and salary employment measured 2,042,400 in June, a 10-year high. The last time it measured at or above this level was in December 2007, when it measured 2,045,800.

“Wage and salary employment in Alabama continues to increase significantly month after month,” said Washington. “This month’s count is the second largest we’ve ever recorded, yielding only to pre-recessionary numbers. It represents the most jobs our economy has supported in more than a decade. Employers are hiring in Alabama, jobs are available in Alabama, and people are working in Alabama.”

To read the full article, click here.

Unemployment numbers displayed on Alabama state map

Job Fair Attracts Nearly 2,000 in Tuscaloosa

The Alabama Department of Labor, the Alabama Career Center System, the Tuscaloosa News, the Tuscaloosa County Park and Recreation Authority and the West Alabama Division of the Association of the U.S. Army partnered to host a job fair on June 7 in Tuscaloosa. The job fair targeted veterans, but it was also open to the public.

Career Center bus parked outside of job fair

Two thousand job seekers showed up to interview with 65 employers looking to fill 2,700 available positions. Several employers even told the organizers that they had made on-the-spot job offers.

Labor Secretary Fitzgerald Washington said of the event, “We are grateful for the continued cooperation from the many entities and agencies we work with on a regular basis. They are great partners to have in helping ADOL achieve its goal of putting Alabamians back to work.

This event showed how teamwork resulted in a huge number of job seekers being able to meet face-to-face with employers.”

To read the full story, click here.


North Alabama Works logo

Manufacture Alabama and North AlabamaWorks Host Career Coaches’ Event in Decatur

Career coaches and other educators from across North Alabama kicked off their summer with a firsthand look at the highly rewarding careers offered by Alabama’s chemical manufacturing sector. The “Career Coach Day” was hosted by Manufacture Alabama and North AlabamaWorks on June 8 at Ascend Performance Materials in Decatur with the intent of providing information to educators that could then be passed along to students.

Industry representatives from the area were on hand to discuss hiring trends, career advancement opportunities and ideal candidate qualities. Similarly, the career coaches were able to ask candid questions about the work environment and how to best prepare students for a career in chemical manufacturing. Presentations and questions eventually evolved into a robust and open discussion that left all participants excited about the career opportunities available to future high school graduates.

“Educators are one of the most important aspects of our business,” said Ascend Site Director Stephen French. “It is very gratifying to have so many teachers and coaches from around our region show such an interest in getting young people started in a manufacturing career. Students are the future of our plant operations and the drivers of our economy as a whole.”

In addition to seeing the actual chemical manufacturing process during the plant tour, educators learned about an industrial culture that emphasizes safety, teamwork, innovation and new technologies. They also were given employment data, which indicates that Alabama directly supports more than 10,400 chemical manufacturing careers and that the average chemical industry worker in Alabama earns more than $82,000 per year.

Today, each Alabama school district has a designated career coach, though many who are familiar with the program say that career coaches in the state are spread too thinly – some career coaches are assigned to multiple schools and have teaching responsibilities as well. This often results in Alabama students only having access to their career coach one day per week.

George Clark is the president of Manufacture Alabama and also serves as the vice chairman of the Alabama Workforce Council and chair of the Alabama Workforce Investment Board. Clark is among those who believe the state should allocate additional funding to bolster the career coach program.

“Career coaches are such an important facet of Alabama’s K-12 system,” said Clark. “More financial resources should be made available to this program to increase its effectiveness. Industry is doing its part to invest in career coaches, and the state should follow suit. It is an investment that will pay remarkable dividends when more young Alabamians find lifelong, lucrative careers without amassing huge sums of student loan debt.”

Workforce development is routinely cited as a top impediment to growth for manufacturing companies in Alabama. More than 13 percent of Alabama’s workforce is engaged in manufacturing, which ranks Alabama fifth nationally. With a large portion of this workforce beyond or rapidly approaching retirement age, manufacturing employers are on the brink of a true crisis.

Career coaches are just one of the many ways in which Alabama is working to address the challenge of workforce development. Manufacturing companies across Alabama are hoping that the career coach program will continue to enhance opportunities for students. For now, the companies that supported Manufacture Alabama’s Career Coach Day are hoping that the educators will take their experience back to their students this fall.

Brooks McLendon and Stephanie McCulloch interview

Brooks McLendon, director of membership at MA, and Stephanie McCulloch, assistant director of North AlabamaWorks, share their thoughts about the tour in this video.

In addition, Manufacture Alabama’s Iron and Steel Council hosted a similar event with career coaches at AM/NS Calvert in southwest Alabama.

Auston Ricks, Fast-Track Industry Student, Wallace State Community College Shares Story

Austin Ricks profile image

Ricks, a senior at Cold Springs High School and a Fast-Track Industry Student at Wallace State Community College, is studying machining.

Thanks to the Fast Track program, Ricks graduated high school with a diploma and an associate degree. He  plans to attend Auburn University for Aerospace Engineering.

To learn more about Ricks’ experience, click the video.


  • Women-Owned Company Lands $47 Million Government Contract. Alabama Today.
  • Mazda-Toyota Manufacturing Makes Key Hire. Birmingham Business Journal
  • Australian Company Selects Huntsville for New Facility. WTVM
  • Huntsville Lands $750 Million Tech Data Center.
  • Ag Center Moves Toward Construction. Times-Daily
  • NWSCC Receives Grant for Student Success Program. Times-Daily
  • CCC Offers New Computer Course. WAAY
  • Workforce Readiness Institute to be Held in Northwest Alabama. Times-Daily
  • Met-South Utilizes Apprenticeship Alabama Program. The Cullman Times
East Alabama Works logo

Carl Brady Joins Team

On June 1, Carl Brady joined East AlabamaWorks as workforce program manager. He comes to Region 2 after working for 31 years in the broadcast industry.

Brady has been recognized as one of the best in Alabama broadcasting and is a four-time winner of the ABBY award, which is presented by the Alabama Broadcasters Association.

A native of Gadsden, Brady lives in Alexandria, in Calhoun County. As workforce program manager, he will help to identify the workforce needs of business and industry and assist in filling those needs with a skilled, well-trained and available workforce in East Alabama.

Carl Brady profile image


West Alabama Works logo

West AlabamaWorks Expands Programs to Benefit Fayette County Residents

Recently, West AlabamaWorks officials spearheaded a meeting with representatives from Bevill State Community College, Fayette County Schools, Fayette Mayor’s Office, State Rep. Kyle South and Phifer Inc. to discuss how to best meet the community’s training and workforce needs.

The group discussed several initiatives and options available. They created a plan that would educate young people on career options other than those available via a four-year degree; offer options for students to earn while they learn; provide soft-skills and other training opportunities to students and adults; and give residents the chance to register with West AlabamaWorks’ Career Connect web-based employment portal.

The plan consists of four specific segments as follows:

Outreach Event — This will be held in September at Fayette High School. There, attendees can register for Career Connect and free job training, such as Ready-to-Work, which prepares participants to enter the job market.

Adult Ready-to-Work — In conjunction with Ready-to-Work, officials at Bevill State Community College will offer certification in conjunction with the Manufacturing Skills Standards Council in the areas of production, logistics and manufacturing.

Ready-to-Work for High School Seniors — The West AlabamaWorks team modified RTW into a version for students, which will be offered at Fayette County High School this fall. Students who successfully complete the coursework will be job-ready upon receiving their diplomas.

Automotive and Modern Manufacturing Programs for High Schoolers — In partnership with BSCC, these students will have dual-enrollment opportunities to simultaneously earn a diploma and manufacturing industry credentials.

The plan will be monitored and altered as needed to fit the needs of students and employers.

To learn more, watch the WBRC video.

Hiring Fair Attracts Thousands

On May 5, West AlabamaWorks hosted its first automotive hiring fair, attracting thousands of people interested  in working in the area’s booming  industry. Twelve companies interviewed 1,400 people in the daylong event. To learn more, watch the video.


Central Six Alabama Works logo


  • Lawson State Community College Hosts New Coding Initiative for Students. CBS 42
  • Birmingham Should Align Education with Workforce Development.
  • Bobo Talks Career Planning. 280 Reporter
  • High School Senior Finds Calling in Machine Tool Work. Daily Mountain Eagle
  • Girls Get Firsthand Experience With Trades.
Central Alabama Works logo

Kendrick Takes Apprenticeship Path to Success

After graduating from high school, Diana Kendrick decided not to go to college because she needed to stay home and work to help support her family. After several self-described “dead-end jobs”, Kendrick found steady work with Baxter, Inc. in Opelika as a quality control employee.

She said she always wanted more and wanted to go back to school but was afraid because she felt she was behind. She was notified of an apprenticeship partnership with Southern Union and earned her degree in Industrial Maintenance. She’s since been promoted to service technician.

To learn more about her story, watch this video.

Diana Kendrick profile image


Southeast Alabama Works logo

Groups Partner for Broadband Accessibility

Two companies, Wiregrass Electric and Troy  Cable, have joined forces to provide a fiber optic backbone for the Wiregrass area. The duo will work together to improve reliability, provide better services and save consumers money through greater efficiencies.

The project will make high-speed broadband connections available to thousands of people along the network’s route. Until now, most residents were limited with Internet service speeds, and some areas had no access at all.

The Troy Cable partnership will provide about 25 percent of WEC’s members with access to a broadband connection. This, in turn, will drive economic growth in the area via online opportunities.

Wiregrass Electric Cooperative signing document

New Hospitality Program Promotes Area’s Attractions, Sites and Eateries

Several organizations in Dothan have united to ensure that front-line service personnel, such as those in hotels, have a solid working knowledge of things to do and see in the area.

Ryan Richards profile image

Named Hospitality 101, the program launched earlier this month with an initial class of 37.

To learn more, click here to watch Southeast AlabamaWorks Director Ryan Richards explain the course and expected results.

In addition, the group recently hosted its very first education caravan for hospitality employees. You can read about it by clicking The Dothan Eagle.

ESCC Launches CDL Course

Enterprise State Community College announced it will offer a commercial driver’s license program for students in the fall.

The school said it partnered with trucking companies in the region to create the curriculum for the six-week training course. It will be offered several times per year.

Group speaking at CDL Course announcement

“The first couple of weeks they’ll be in a classroom. We’ll have a track, they’ve got to be able to manipulate and perform three different backing and driving exercises,” said Dean of Instruction Danny Long. “Before they get done with us, they’ll be on Highway 231 going up and down the highway.”

Photo: State Sen. Donnie Chesteen, ACCS Chancellor Jimmy Baker, ESCC President Matt Rodgers, State Rep. Steve Clouse, Ozark Mayor Bob Bunting and Southeast AlabamaWorks Director Ryan Richards announce the new CDL course during a recent press conference.

Read more at WSFA.


  • Sisters Graduate from Nursing Program. WTVY
  • High-Tech Lab Opens New World for Students. The Dothan Eagle
  • Scholarships Available for Non-Traditional Students. The Andalusia Star-News
  • Houston County Students Excel at Underwater Robotics Competition. The Dothan Eagle
  • Wallace-Dothan Gets Workforce Money from Legislators. WTVY
SAWDC Alabama Works logo


Statewide Headlines

  • Commerce Wins E-Award. Made in Alabama
  • Alabama Gets Silver Shovel Award.
  • AlabamaWorks is Putting Alabama Back to Work. Yellowhammer
  • The Department of Labor Offers Tips to Teens, Employers on Summer Jobs. WAFF
  • Alabama’s Year of the Automobile.
  • Alabama Projects Earn Magazine’s Investment Awards. Made in Alabama
  • Google Injects $703 Million into State’s Economy. Birmingham Business Journal
  • Who is the Largest Employer in Each County?
  • Study Reveals Only 71 Percent of High School Seniors are Career Ready.  AL Political Reporter

National Headlines

About AlabamaWorks!
AlabamaWorks is a network of interconnected providers of workforce services, including all of the governmental, educational and private-sector components that train, prepare and match job seekers with employers.