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Gov. Kay Ivey Headlines WOW Breakfast

Governor Kay Ivey speaking at event

More than 300 business and industry leaders packed the gym at Shelton State Community College as Gov. Kay Ivey delivered the keynote address at West AlabamaWorks’ Worlds of Work breakfast, held on Friday, Oct. 11. The event kicked off the final day of WOW, which attracted 5,000-plus students from the area.

“Helping young people know what’s out there will stimulate them to pursue the goals they want to pursue. This is an eye-opening experience for the students and educators here today,” Ivey said.

Watch this newsclip fromWVUA to see more of WOW.

Another Record! Unemployment Hits 3.0%

Once again, Alabama has reached a new record low in unemployment. According to Alabama Department of Labor Secretary Fitzgerald Washington, the state’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate fell to 3.0%, down from August’s previous record-setting low of 3.1%.

Read more here.

Unemployment numbers displayed on Alabama state map

Blind Spots on Workforce Super Highway

portrait of Ed Castile

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

Have you ever been traveling down the highway, about to change lanes, when you look over your shoulder and see there is a car in your blind spot? How long was it there? Why didn’t you notice it before? It’s critical to the situation at hand, and all it took was a different perspective to notice it.

When traveling the Workforce Super Highway, there are several population segments that are crucial to solving our workforce needs, but we have failed to look at them in a different perspective. A quick glance around shows an untapped labor source right in front of us, living in our communities and across each of the seven workforce regions.

To continue reading, visit AIDT.

Central AlabamaWorks! Launches Academy

Eleven educators, including superintendents, teachers and career technology directors, met at Career Discovery to take part in Central AlabamaWorks’ inaugural Educator Workforce Academy. They represented nine public schools in the 13-county region.

Ed Castile, deputy secretary of the Alabama Department of Commerce/director of AIDT, kicked off the classroom portion of the day with an overview of the Alabama Department of Commerce, and in particular, AIDT. He also identified the high-wage, high-demand industries where Alabama needs more workers.

Next, Dr. Brock Kelley, director of Workforce Development for the Alabama State Department of Education, stressed the importance of students being involved in career technical courses.

Christopher Blair speaking

Participants, such as Bullock County’s Superintendent of Schools Dr. Christopher Blair, are eager to help their students through the knowledge gained from the Educator Workforce Academy.

Watch and hear more from Blair in this video.

ACCET to Function as a Digital Dashboard

The Alabama College and Career Exploration Tool will be designed to serve as a one-stop digital dashboard that will allow Alabamians to compare all college and career options before choosing a career pathway.

Governor Ivey portrait

ACCET will guide students through a digitally-delivered exploration and survey of all 79 pathways within the 16 career technical education industry clusters, an interest profile and a graduation plan. It will also allow CTE concentrators to map career plans that will lead to graduation with industry-recognized credentials, post-secondary credit and work-based learning experience. Ultimately, ACCET will provide the tools for students to create a verified digital resume.

In addition, it will include a Free Application for Federal Student Aid completion and college application tool. Students will also be able to access the Workforce Innovation Opportunity Act-eligible training provider list.

Stay tuned for more information about ACCET. To read about other initiatives, please click here.

Director Shares Vision for AOA

portrait of Josh Laney

As the new Alabama Office of Apprenticeship starts to educate citizens about its goals and the opportunities that come with registered apprenticeships, its director, Josh Laney, said they are working to attract more young people into youth apprenticeships.

“If we keep waiting until students have graduated high school, waited until they’re floundering in the world, trying to figure out what they’re going to do, then we’re just missing the boat,” said Laney.

Watch the interview on WAAY.

Laney was also featured on “Spotlight Education,” where he spoke in-depth about AOA. You can watch the program on APTV.

As part of the office’s outreach plans, it is hosting the first AOA summit. The event will feature Ed Castile, deputy secretary of the Alabama Department of Commerce/director of AIDT, and a panel comprised of employers/organization representatives that will discuss  the value of and establishing apprenticeships. To view the full agenda and register, click here.

Region 7 Initiates Ready to Work Program

SAWDC recently launched its first industry-driven Ready to Work program at Ben C. Rain High School and ACCEL Day and Evening Academy. The RTW program is designed to prepare students for the workplace by exposing them to essential skills through industry partnerships, such as  tours, industrial programming and classroom exercises.

SAWDC Ready to Work group posing for picture

FAME is Filling the Workforce Gap and Providing a Pathway for Economic Development

By: Lisa Morales
Director, East AlabamaWorks!

portrait of Lisa Morales

The critical functions of many manufacturing companies are controlled by industrial automation professionals. If there is a disruption of service in any of the high-tech, computer-controlled systems, then deadlines are not met, product is not delivered, and revenue is compromised.

Demands for trained and educated professionals to maintain technical systems within an industry are critical now and will only continue to increase in the years to come. It doesn’t matter if the company produces flooring, missile parts or assembles automobiles, they all have one thing in common — the dependence on skilled staff who can maximize efficiency and equipment reliability in their company.

Click here to read the rest of the guest column.


north Alabama works logo


  • Lockheed Martin Plans $19 Million Expansion.
  • Decatur Facility Named Plant of the Year. BusinessWire
  • Daikin Plans $195 Million Expansion in Decatur; to Add 50 Jobs. Yellowhammer
  • UNA Gets Grant for STEM. Daily News
East Alabama Works logo

East AlabamaWorks! Named BEST Robotics Hub

East Alabama Best Robotics logo

East AlabamaWorks is now the new home for BEST Robotics in east Alabama. The region will oversee all aspects of the competition, which is scheduled for Nov. 2 at Jacksonville State University’s Pete Mathews Coliseum.

BEST is a workforce development initiative designed to foster interest in science, technology, engineering and math for both middle and high school students —  utilizing a competition centered on robotics.

To read more, click here.


  • BAE Systems Begins Upgrading Combat Vehicles. Anniston Star
  • Region Recognized for Promoting Employment of the Disabled. Gadsden Times
  • Hiring Fair to be Held on Nov.19. EAL
West Alabama Works logo

Seventy-Four Graduate from Academy

Seventy-four educators recently graduated from the Educator Workforce Academy and were recognized for their achievement at West AlabamaWorks’ Worlds of Work career expo. The Educator Workforce Academy is a year-long training program for teachers and others that exposes them to workforce development and local industries.

Established by West AlabamaWorks in 2017, the Academy helps eliminate the disconnect between industry and education, giving the area’s students more exposure to potential careers.

Graduates from educator workforce academy posing for picture


  • Enviva to Employ 85 at New Plant.
  • UWA Gets $2.5 Million Grant for Rural Workforce Development. UWA
  • Library Introduces West AlabamaWorks Kiosk. Pickens County Herald
  • UA Unites Inventors, Businesses in Incubator. Alabama NewsCenter
  • West AlabamaWorks Recognized for Promoting Employment of the Disabled. WCFT
Central Six Alabama Works logo

Second Educator Workforce Academy Class Tours Academy of Craft Training

For its October meeting, the Educator Workforce Academy toured the Academy of Craft Training at the Alabama Workforce Training Center in Birmingham. Thirty teachers, counselors and other leaders comprise the second cohort, which will meet an additional five times during the 2019-2020 school year.

Tour group from educator workforce academy


Central Alabama Works logo

Central Alabama Hosts Career Discovery

More than 4,000 eighth-graders from 30 schools recently participated in Career Discovery at Southern Union State Community College’s Opelika campus. Career Discovery is a hands-on expo that exposes students to careers in high-wage, high-demand jobs. Participants and businesses came from 10 counties in the central Alabama area. This was the fourth year for the event.

students doing experiment at career discovery event

“To be competitively positioned for employment, today’s students should begin charting their career paths early in high school. This event provided an up-close look at many and varied career opportunities, which should help these students make informed decisions as they prepare for the future through education and training,” said Rod Cater, Career Discovery chairman.

To get an idea of the activities that took place, watch as students assemble water meters. To read more about the event, visit Alabama NewsCenter.


  • Governor’s Job Fair Offers Hope to Those With Disabilities. WSFA
  • Shinhwa to Build Plant in Auburn. Auburn News
  • Ingram State CC  Provides Valuable Skills for Jobs to Inmates After Release. Yellowhammer
  • Connor Industries to Open Plant, Hire 100.
  • Current HMMA Workers Move into Maintenance Roles. The Montgomery Advertiser
  • ID Plastics to Open Plant; Will Bring 50 Jobs. Made in Alabama
  • More than 1,400 Attend Job Fair. WAKA
Southeast Alabama Works logo

Fifty Business Representatives Attend Region’s First Manufacturing Cluster Meeting

Southeast AlabamaWorks recently held its first manufacturing cluster meeting at Wallace Community College-Dothan campus. Fifty business representatives discussed workforce needs specific to manufacturing and shared best practices for a variety of issues.

Prior to the meeting, participants answered survey questions, which were used to guide the topics for discussion. The most pressing issues were increasing retention and finding qualified applicants. They also talked about innovative methods for advertising open positions.

The next meeting will be held Jan. 14, 2020, in Opp.

people attending regional manufacturing cluster meeting


  • WSCC-Dothan’s Surgery Tech Program Aids Local Healthcare Community.  The Dothan Eagle
  • Pharmacy to Open; Pay $18 an Hour. WSFA
SAWDC Alabama Works logo

Educators Learn about Local Careers

SAWDC’s Educator Workforce Academy is now under way, with representatives from all nine of the region’s counties participating in two cohorts: North and South. The Academy exposes principals, teachers and other educators to local industries and their workforce needs.

educator workforce academy group in SAWDC region


  • Airbus Hosts Girls in Aviation. Airbus

Statewide Headlines

  • Workforce Development Most Pressing Issue. Yellowhammer
  • Scholarships Available for Students Entering the Automotive Industry. WSFA
  • Alabama Power Recognized Nationally for Commitment to Skilled Trades. Yellowhammer

Statewide 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.