MONTGOMERY, Ala – Despite the lingering economic uncertainty caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, a new report says Alabama’s workforce stands stronger today than it did one year ago. “The Alabama Workforce Council (AWC) has been strengthened as an organization over the past year. Our advocacy with state agencies and the Legislature has led to policy outcomes that will improve the lives of thousands of Alabamians,” said AWC Chair Tim McCartney and Vice Chair Sandra Koblas in a letter to Gov. Ivey and legislators that accompanies the report.
In partnership with the Alabama Legislature, the AWC successfully worked to increase funding for dual enrollment for career and technical education for high school students, reduce teacher chronic absenteeism and grow the educator workforce pipeline. The Fiscal Year 2022 Education Trust Fund Budget included a $3 million increase for the dual enrollment program, which brought total funding for the program to $21.2 million. An $11 million increase for the K-12 Career Tech Initiative nearly doubled the total investment in the program to $19.3 million. Plus, there was a new $10 million investment in the Alabama Community College System’s Innovation Center for rapid worker training.
“Considering these successes, we are not resting on our laurels. In 2022, we will be focusing on completing our system for connecting talent and opportunity, known as the Alabama Talent Triad, increasing the labor force participation rate, and making tremendous progress against the Success Plus postsecondary education attainment goals,” said McCartney and Koblas.
Other highlights in the report about the AWC’s efforts are:
- ATLAS on Career Pathways, the state’s interagency data-sharing system, was implemented and will provide the data that’s needed to identify in-demand careers and credentials.
- The Alabama Credential Registry launched as the first of three technology solutions that comprise the Alabama Talent Triad, which will be used to scale skills-based hiring and competency-based learning practices in Alabama.
- The AWC partnered with Governor Ivey and the State Board of Education to pass a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) completion policy that will open the doors to postsecondary education and the workforce for all of Alabama’s high school graduates.
- The Alabama Computer Science Summit resumed after a one-year hiatus caused by COVID-19.
- These successes and others are helping to achieve Gov. Ivey’s Success Plus goal of adding 500,000 highly skilled Alabamians to the workforce by 2025.
The full report can be viewed here.