Governor Ivey Hosts First Pathways to Careers Summit for Hundreds in Montgomery

It was a packed house at the Embassy Suites in Montgomery when Gov. Kay Ivey hosted the first Pathways to Careersummit last month. The event focused on uniting business men and women, educators, agency officials and others to discuss and share platforms for training the state’s future workforce to meet industry needs for qualified candidates.

image of governor ivey

In her remarks, Ivey touted the AlabamaWorks! Success Plus initiative. “Through the Success Plus plan, we will enhance workforce development programs to add 500,000 credentialed individuals to our workforce by 2025,” she said.

“Time and time again, we have seen that success works best when we work together,” said Ivey. “Results are possible because of your hard work.”

Secretary Greg Canfield, Alabama Department of Commerce, touted workforce development as the key in recruiting companies such as Mazda-Toyota and Amazon.

“As a state, we are truly aligned in this endeavor,” he said.

One of those keys to alignment is Apprenticeship Alabama, an AIDT program that unites post-secondary students with businesses. The student attends college (paid for by the business) while working and earning a wage in his/her field of choice. The participating industry gets a tax credit and the ability to grow its own workforce.

“Without this program, we would not be able to attract and maintain our contracts with the U.S. Navy,” said Austal USA Human Resources Director Sandra Koblas, vice chairwoman of AlabamaWorks! Koblas participated in the AA panel portion of the summit.

group panel having a discussion

Another one of the day’s panels focused on aligning work-based learning programs with workforce needs.

“Everything is changing rapidly. But, we customize our programs to wrap around industry’s needs,” said Ed Castile, deputy secretary of the Alabama Department of Commerce and director of AIDT. “The best recruits (for businesses) we see are high school career tech and two-year college students. It (the Alabama Community College System) is helping us provide a workforce pipeline, and K-12 feeding into the ACCS is a plus.”

jeff lynn on group panel

Jeff Lynn, ACCS vice chancellor of workforce and economic development, added, “Companies drive us from all sectors. We need to triple the numbers in our work-based programs and put students in situations to be successful. We are strategic in offering courses to align with the community’s needs.”

Tommy Glasscock, assistant state superintendent/career and technical education for the Alabama State Department of Education’s workforce development division, added another approach would also be beneficial. “The regional workforce councils will be valuable in helping us collect data for Perkins V, which now requires areas to identify the high-wage, high-skill, in-demand occupations so that local colleges and school systems can tailor their programs to match. The needs assessment will also look at strategies to address the needs of underserved populations to identify ways to close their performance gaps.”

Other featured speakers also spoke about aligning education with workforce needs.

According to ALSDE Superintendent Dr. Eric Mackey, this has already begun in the K-12 system. “We are doing a number of things to build our foundation. We have reading and math initiatives in place. We are turning these students into being workforce-ready, and we are modernizing our career technical education programs.”

ACCS Chancellor Dr. Jimmy Baker said that the paradigm of everyone needing to attend a four-year institution has to shift. “We must change the attitude of what it means to be a worker.”

Other speakers included Alabama Department of Labor Secretary Fitzgerald Washington, who gave an update on the state’s low unemployment rate, and Nichelle Nix, director of the Governor’s Office of Minority Affairs, who provided information about STEM apprenticeships with Alabama’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities.

You may also want to watch WSFA‘s coverage of the summit.

Twenty-four Apprentices Sign With Dixie Electric

group image of apprenticeship Alabama members

One  company is doing its  part to help Gov. Ivey get more people working in Alabama.

Dixie Electric is now part of the Alabama Dept. of Commerce’s Apprenticeship Alabama program, which operates under AIDT.

It’s not everyday that people get the chance to study in their future career and earn money at the same time, but for 24 local electricians, that is the case as they start learning everything they need to know in the electrician industry – an industry that is in high demand.

Read more at Alabama News Networks or watch the video.

Do Career Interest Surveys Make a Difference?

By: Donny Jones, Director
West AlabamaWorks!

portrait image of donny jones

Do you remember taking a career interest survey when you were in high school? Did it determine your career journey, or was it just something you joked with friends about on your way to the cafeteria? Through a partnership with Alabama General Contractors and the Alabama Workforce Council’s Region 3, a better type of career interest survey is coming to Tuscaloosa-area schools: YouScience.

Read more at Yellowhammer

Winning the Plant and Finding the Workforce

As the state’s automotive manufacturers and automotive supplier companies have rapidly expanded in recent years and their work has become increasingly high-tech, the industry has consistently faced challenges in recruiting and retaining enough qualified workers.

Almost 40,000 employees work in Alabama’s automotive manufacturing sector, and now with Mazda Toyota Manufacturing USA constructing a new, $1.6 billion joint venture assembly plant in Huntsville, the state’s need for qualified automotive workers will intensify. Construction is set to begin in 2019, and the facility will employ at least 4,000 workers, with an annual production capacity of 300,000 vehicles, says Ed Castile, deputy secretary of the Alabama Department of Commerce and director of the state’s worker training agency, AIDT.

Business Alabama

Job Growth, Weekly Earnings Set Records

Alabama experienced a job growth rate of 2.2 percent from December 2017 to December 2018, the largest over-the-year percentage growth on record. This growth represents an increase of 44,300 jobs.

“We are ending 2018 with great economic news all around,” said Alabama Department of Labor Secretary Fitzgerald Washington. “To see this kind of record job growth is extraordinary. Alabama employers have added nearly 45,000 jobs over the past year – economists predicted that our economy would grow by 27,000 jobs. I’m happy to say that we more than exceeded their predictions.”

Unemployment numbers displayed on Alabama state map

Click here to read more.

Educator Academy is a Hit With Teachers

Teachers from west Alabama are getting hands-on exposure to careers with local companies that don’t require a four-year degree, and they are excited about sharing this information with their students.

Many of the educators confessed that they were unaware of the opportunities at some of the companies they visited and were surprised at what careers were available in their own areas.

Watch the video below from West AlabamaWorks! Educator Workforce Academy participants when they recently visited Mercedes-Benz for a tour and presentation.

Opinion: 2018 Economic Wrap-up

By: Fitzgerald Washington
Secretary, Alabama Department of Labor

portrait image of fitzgerald washington

As we reflect on the ending of yet another year and step out into the new one, we here at the Alabama Department of Labor are thankful to begin 2019 with high hopes for continued economic prosperity. Each year, I look back at what we’ve accomplished in the previous year and set goals for the upcoming one.

And what a year we had in 2018! In my years as secretary of labor, I don’t believe I’ve ever seen a year with so many records broken. In fact, we broke some records so many times that I was afraid we were sounding like a broken record! But that’s a great position to be in. We all remember the harshness of the great recession only a few years ago. No one wants to relive those days.

To read more, visit  the Alabama Political Reporter.

Register for the AlabamaWorks! Workforce Conference; Catch the Early Bird Pricing

Be in the know, hear great speakers, network and participate in thought-provoking breakout sessions at this year’s Alabama Works! Workforce conference.It will be held in Birmingham from Tues., April 23 – Thurs., April 25.

Click herenow to get the early-bird special price.


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  • Blue Origin Team Breaks Ground in Huntsville. Cullman Times
  • NextFlex Partners With Boeing for National Expansion of Program. BusinessWire
  • EMT: NW-Shoals is Hopeful New Tuition Program Will Spur Interest. Courier Journal
  • Alabama Students Among Those in the Nation to Receive NBT Manufacturing Scholarships.
  • Scholarships Available for Single Mothers Interested in STEM-Related Fields. Wallace State
  • Wallace State Sonography Program Graduates Full Class of 30. Wallace State
  • Wallace State-Oneonta EMS Program Proving Successful for Inaugural Class. Wallace State
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  • Walmart Raises Rates for CDL Holders.
  • FAME Program Places Students in High-Demand Jobs. WAAY
West Alabama Works logo

Virginia Visitors Learn How to Grow Their Workforce

Recently, a group from Virginia flew to Tuscaloosa to meet with the West AlabamaWorks! team and learn more about the programs and initiatives for growing a trained workforce and closing the gap between unfilled jobs and potential employees.

Watch an interview from the visit at WBRC.

Virginia workforce group posing for picture


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Cleggett Chosen as “One to Watch”

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Antiqua Cleggett, director of Central Six AlabamaWorks!, has been selected by the Birmingham Business Journal as one to watch in 2019.

She was selected along with Waymond Jackson of the Birmingham Business Alliance as one of the top 30 business people who will be making strides in their respective occupations in the Birmingham area.

Read more in the BBJ.

PowerUp! is Coming in March

PowerUp!, a hands-on construction exploration event for mothers and daughters, is returning to Birmingham via Central Six AlabamaWorks! on March 12, from 5:30 PM – 8:30 PM, at the AIDT/Alabama Workforce Training Center.

The night will feature dynamic speakers, construction-related businesses and industry representatives who will provide information about careers and construction-based education and opportunities.

To register your company or to attend, click here.

WOW Enters Its Second Year

Worlds of Work, a hands-on career expo for eighth-graders, will enter its second year March 16-17 at the Birmingham-Jefferson Civic Center. It will expose students to jobs that do not require a four-year degree.

The deadline for schools from the metro Birmingham area to register is March 8, while businesses wanting to participate have until March 15. They both can register here.

To learn more, watch the video from last year here.


  • Churches, Schools Offer Free English classes in Shelby County. 280Living
  • Bevill State to receive $10K Grant. Daily Mountain Eagle
  • BSCC, Kelley Health Services Partner for CNA Program. Daily Mountain Eagle
  • How This Southern City is Making Tech Work for People. Next City
  • Rees Scholarship Foundation Awards $65K to Aspiring HVACR Technicians, Some in Alabama. theNEWS
  • Discussion Focuses on Challenges, Strengths of HBCUs. The Birmingham Times
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  • Hyundai Production Numbers Down; SUV Surging. The Randle Report
  • Start-Ups Compete for $50,000. WSFA
  • Alabama Power, B.A.S.S Award Scholarships to Two Alabamians. Alabama NewsCenter
  • Being a First-Responder is a Way of Life for Harrison. Selma Times-Journal
  • SUSCC Welcomes New Workforce Development Staff. Opelika Observer
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  • Themes, Including STEM, Announced for Dothan Schools. Dothan Eagle
  • Wallace Announces Surgery Tech Program. Dothan Eagle
  • Companies Move Forward With Airport Plans. Andalusia Star-News
  • State School Superintendent Visits G-Tech Center. WTVY
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  • Airbus Breaks Ground on New Assembly Line. Alabama NewsCenter
  • AIDT to Assist in Filling 600 Airbus Positions. Alabama NewsCenter
  • Bishop State Prepares Out-of-School Youth for Workforce with New Program. Fox10

Statewide Headlines

  • Governor Announces Grant for Early Childhood Education. WAFF
  • State’s Pre-K is Best in Class. Birmingham Watch
  • First Rural Broadband Grants Awarded. Yellowhammer
  • Opportunity Zones Create a Buzz. Alabama NewsCenter
  • Alabama Needs to Prepare Students for Auto Industry of the Future.
  • Governor Ivey Continues to Champion Workforce Development. Alabama NewsCenter

National Headlines

  • STEM Instruction: Who Gets It and How Much? EdWeek
  • GE Goes High-Tech in Recruiting. Industry Week
  • Future Jobs Will Require Hybrid Skills. WSJ

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.