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Ivanka Trump Announces Expansion of FAME Program at Alabama Robotics Technology Park

Presidential advisor Ivanka Trump, an advocate for workforce development, recently stopped in Alabama to announce the expansion of the Federation of Advanced Manufacturing Education program. The event was held at the Alabama Robotics Technology Park in Tanner.

ivanka trump poses for award picture with robotics group

Toyota Manufacturing North America, originator of FAME, and The Manufacturing Institute, have now joined forces to take the program into other parts of Alabama and nationwide. Twelve other states also house FAME chapters, which consist of partner companies that employ the FAME apprentices while they take college courses to receive manufacturing certifications.

AIDT Assistant Director Kristi Bain was on hand for the announcement, which almost didn’t happen in Alabama. “Originally, it was to have been made in another state. But, those plans fell through at the last minute. We got the request a week and a half prior to the specific date and were thrilled to host Ms. Trump and the FAME officials at the Alabama Robotics Technology Park.”

As for the expansion of the program itself, Bain said that she is excited about the possibilities for manufacturers already in the state, but also for those that are considering Alabama as a new home. Watch her video here.

“Companies involved in FAME see that it works. They have bought into the program,” she added.

To read more, visit Yellowhammer.

Human Capital Development a Crucial Piece of Workforce Development

Portrait of Governor Kay Ivey

Alabama is committed to meeting the Success Plus goal of adding 500,000+ credential holders to our workforce and raising our labor force participation rate to the national average by 2025. We will do this through human capital development and a renewed social compact for Alabamians.

Using the combined WIOA 2020 plan, which is currently under development, and the two-pronged Alabama Career Pathways Model, we are working to establish a wage premium for individuals who presently are unable to enter the labor force due to lack of child care or transportation, and for those who have negligible opportunities for upward mobility in their careers.

The career pathways model will provide a feedback loop between employers and employees that will signal to individuals who are either underemployed or not participating in the workforce to take a chance on a competency-based career pathway. A currency of credentials of value will also signal progressive wage increases, upward mobility within a firm and within industry sectors.

To learn more about this and other initiatives, click here.

Southeast AlabamaWorks! Names First-Ever Workforce Development Champions

Four companies–Eye Center South, Higgins Electric, Wayne Farms and Bob Woodall Air Care Systems–have been named as workforce development champions by Southeast AlabamaWorks and the Dothan Area Chamber of Commerce.

Southeast AlabamaWorks Executive Director Ryan Richards and DACC Board Chair Mary Beth Maddox developed the concept for the awards in an effort to honor businesses that have made extensive investments in creating a skilled workforce.

Read the rest of the story in The Dothan Eagle.

group poses for workforce development champions announcement

Alabama’s Workforce Superhighway

portrait of Ed Castile

By: Ed Castile
Deputy Secretary, Alabama Department of Commerce
Director, AIDT

Alabama’s workforce programs have undergone several changes in the past couple years, and to say that this has caused some confusion would be a huge understatement! I liken it to the 1956 Federal-Aid Highway Act,  which created the beginnings of the interstate system that focused on building a system of connected roads that would funnel traffic from smaller roads into safer, more efficient “Superhighways.”

When we look at workforce development in Alabama over the last 50 years, we’ve been a mishmash of programs or smaller roads all leading to the same goal, but having to travel those roads on a wildly divergent path. In a few words, I’d like to clear up the confusion and untie the knot related to the programs housed within the Alabama Department of Commerce.

Continue reading here.

Final WIOA Meetings Continue Through October

The second, and final, local stakeholder meetings for input into the 2020 WIOA/Perkins V Combined Plan are currently in process. So far, meetings have been held in Tanner, Gadsden and Tuscaloosa. Upcoming locations include Birmingham (Oct. 3, Lawson State CC);  Montgomery (Oct. 10, Trenholm State CC);  Enterprise (Oct. 17,  Enterprise State CC) and Bay Minette (Oct. 24, Coastal AL CC). All meetings will be held from 5:30 – 7:30 PM.

wioa meeting brainstorming group

SAWDC AlabamaWorks! Hosts 10th WOO Event

It was a packed house as 7,919 eighth graders engaged in hands-on career-related activities with 128 businesses during the 10th annual Worlds of Opportunity expo. The event was held Sept. 18 – 19 at the Mobile Civic Center.

collage of highlights from SAWDC WOO event

WOO showcased 12 “worlds” — safety; aerospace/aviation; information technology; construction; energy; engineering; healthcare; hospitality; tourism; manufacturing; public service and shipbuilding — for students (and their teachers) to explore. To get an idea of what the kids did, watch as one student creates energy with Alabama Power.

Combatting Turnover With Creative Solutions in the Healthcare Industry

portrait of Peggy Sease

By: Peggy Sease
Vice President of Human Resources
DCH Health Systems

DCH Health Systems employs more than 4,000 people, but in recent years, we’ve found difficulty hiring our frontline caregivers – patient care assistants. PCAs are crucial in helping a hospital operate, as they check vital signs, chart changes in health and behavior and provide assistance to doctors, nurses and allied health professionals.

Like many frontline workers, turnover is traditionally high for PCAs, patient care technologists and certified nursing assistants. PCAs, PCTs and CNAs perform many of the same tasks, and the job titles are used interchangeably at many healthcare facilities. In 2018, CNAs had a 27.7% turnover rate, and PCTs had a 19.3% turnover rate, according to the National Healthcare Retention & RN Staffing Report. Industry experts estimate the average cost of turnover in healthcare is approximately $60,000. The financial hit is coupled by diminished patient care, another effect of high turnover.

To continue reading, click here.

North AlabamaWorks! Welcomes More Than 2,500 Students to Second Worlds of Work

More than 2,500 students, along with 60 businesses, descended upon Northwest Shoals Community College to North AlabamaWorks’ second annual Worlds of Work, a hands-on career exploration event for eighth-graders. The students represented schools in Lauderdale, Colbert, Franklin, Lawrence and Winston counties.

Watch television coverage of WOW here.

kids at North AlabamaWorks Worlds of Work event

Howle Joins Team in East Alabama

portrait of Abby Howel

Abby Howle has joined the East AlabamaWorks team as workforce program coordinator. In this position, she will coordinate BEST robotics, workforce development events and will make presentations to students on the importance of being ready for the job market.

Previously, she worked as the victim’s service officer for the Cleburne Co. District Attorney’s Office. From 2015-18, Howle was the executive director of the Cleburne Co. Chamber of Commerce.

Howle is a cum laude graduate of Jacksonville State University, where she received her bachelor’s degree in business management.

Alabama Sets New Records for Low Unemployment!

Alabama Department of Labor Secretary Fitzgerald Washington recently announced that Alabama has yet again set a new record-low unemployment rate. Alabama’s preliminary, seasonally adjusted August unemployment rate is 3.1%, down from July’s rate of 3.3%, and well-below August 2018’s rate of 3.9%. August’s rate represents 2,184,511 employed persons, also a new record high, measuring 68,033 more than last year’s count, and 12,757 more than last month’s count.

Read more here.

Unemployment numbers displayed on Alabama state map

Register Now for the Apprenticeship Summit!

Apprenticeship Summit Ad

Click here to see the agenda and register.

Grill and Chill Attracts Dozens of Job Seekers and Employers to Community Center

Great food and hot jobs were on the menu at the recent Grill and Chill event, held at the Chatom Community Center. More than 300 job seekers visited 30-plus employers, who had both entry-level and advanced-job openings.

Alabama Department. of Labor Secretary Fitzgerald Washington was on hand to welcome everyone to the center. Washington County Probate Judge Nick Williams and Chatom Mayor Harold Crouch also spoke prior to the start of the event.

group photo at grill and chill event

Photo: Judge Williams, Secretary Washington and Mayor Crouch attend the Grill and Chill.

Rural Workforce Development Event Set for Nov. 1

rural workforce development summit ad


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  • Software Company Coming to Huntsville.
  • Bevill State Helps Fill Demand for Coal Miners. WVTM
  • Firefighter Seeks New Career Through Aviation College. Sand Mountain Reporter
  • Proposed Partnership Could Mean 1,000 More Jobs. Alabama Daily News
  • Lockheed Martin to Add Jobs and  Base Program in North AL. Made in AL
  • Madison Co. CTE Student Lands Job. APTIQ
East Alabama Works logo


  • Honda Hosts Workforce Workshop. WBRC
  • RTW Courses to be Held in Leesburg. Gadsden Times
  • Birmingham-Southern Partners With GSCC. BBJ
  • Groups Partner for BEST Robotics Program and Competition. TV24
  • Residents Gain Valuable Workforce Skills in Mobile Classroom. ABC3340
  • Participants in E2 Program Recognized. Gadsden Times
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High Schoolers to Engage with Employers at WOW Varsity at Shelton State Community College

High school students and their parents are encouraged to attend WOW Varsity, Thurs., Oct. 10, from 2 – 6 PM at Shelton State Community College. Post-secondary students may also attend. Students have the opportunity to talk to industry professionals about high-growth, high-demand jobs in the region and how they can earn these jobs in the future.


  • UA Launches Reading Initiative. Yellowhammer
  • Outreach Event Helps People Develop Skills for In-demand Jobs. WCBI
Central Six Alabama Works logo


Central Alabama Works logo


  • Auburn, Opelika Get High Marks for Growing Economy. OA Now
  • Hyundai to Invest Nearly $300 Million in Plant. Alabama NewsCenter
Southeast Alabama Works logo

Did Abbeville Create a Model for Economic Development in Rural Alabama?

Che old WestPoint Pepperell mill in Abbeville, Alabama, is a long, greyish white structure that stretches two city blocks in all directions at the corner of State Highway 27 and U.S. 431.

For many southerners, the building’s long, column-stilted concrete exterior is familiar. Textile giant WestPoint Pepperell dotted the Alabama, Georgia, and Carolina landscape with dozens of similar-looking mills during the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s when the industry was still booming.

Read more in the Alabama Daily News.

The old WestPoint Pepperell mill in Abbeville


  • Gov. Ivey and Local Leaders Welcome Abbeville Fiber to Henry CoWDHN
  • Kelley Chosen to Lead ALSDE’s Workforce Development Efforts. Troy Messenger
  • Castile Praises Wee Cats at Rethink Career and Technical Education Event. Southeast Sun
  • ESCC Holds Aviation Orientation, Records Continued Growth. Enterprise Ledger
SAWDC Alabama Works logo


  • Online School Welcomes Students for Inaugural Year. Business Wire
  • Channel at the Port to Expand. ADN
  • Pouncey Named President of CACC. APR

Statewide Headlines

  • Alabama Power Company Named a Top Economic Development Utility. Alabama NewsCenter
  • Magazine Ranks Alabama No. 4 in Top States for Business. Yellowhammer
  • IBM Ranks Alabama No. 1 for Jobs from Foreign Investment. Made in Alabama
  • ALSDE Wants Public to Participate in Survey.
  • State Looking at $1 Billion in Opportunity Zone Investments.
  • Canfield Chosen as Chairman of AI Committee. Yellowhammer

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.