MONTGOMERY, Ala. (Nov. 15, 2016) – Business, education, and workforce training leaders today unveiled AlabamaWorks!, an initiative to join workforce development efforts under one umbrella and seamlessly link employers and job seekers.
Today’s announcement is a major milestone in the unification of Alabama’s workforce system and joins key components of the K-12 and two-year college systems, state workforce training, placement services, and private industry.
Zeke Smith, executive vice president of Business Council of Alabama-member Alabama Power Co., is chairman of the Alabama Workforce Council that worked to join components to create a successful workforce program.
“The Alabama Workforce Council and our partners are focused on helping transform the state’s workforce system to dramatically improve the livelihoods for millions of Alabama families for years to come,” Smith said at the program’s unveiling at the Alabama Center for Commerce.
“We are doing that today by providing a tool to match the needs of employers with job seekers across the state to grow our economy and raise the standard of living for Alabamians,” Smith said.
Information about AlabamaWorks! Can be found at www.alabamaworks.com.
AlabamaWorks! is designed to more easily connect jobs with job seekers and help prepare workers by linking them to career and job training opportunities.
“Twenty-first Century jobs demand high skill levels, training, and education,” William J. Canary, president and CEO of the Business Council of Alabama, said in a statement. “Seamlessly joining all aspects of workforce training will simplify job searches and offerings and motivate both employers and students.”
State analysts and economists say it’s essential for Alabama workers to increase their education either through skill training or college in order to rise in today’s marketplace.
An August 2014 analysis prepared by the Business Education Alliance says that raising the education levels of the state’s workforce should be a critical priority. BEA Chairman and CEO Joe Morton, Ph.D., is on the Alabama Workforce Council.
“The current composition of Alabama’s workforce doesn’t match up with the levels of education needed in the modern workplace,” the BEA’s “Obstacles Into Opportunities” report says. “Experts project that by 2020 almost two out of every three jobs will require some sort of postsecondary credential, from a certificate to a graduate or professional degree.”
During the next year, each of the state’s seven newly restructured regional workforce councils will integrate their services into the new AlabamaWorks! brand.
Alabama Secretary of Commerce Greg Canfield said today’s announcement is more than just a new brand and new logo.
“It’s about taking Alabama to the national forefront of workforce development so that every person in Alabama who wants to find a job can, and so that every employer that comes to Alabama will be able to hire the skilled workers it needs,” Canfield said. “We truly believe that we are building a system that will soon become a national model.”
Ed Castile, deputy secretary of the Department of Commerce and executive director of Alabama Industrial Development and Training, said the seven regional councils are the system’s backbone. “Our system is driven by local businesses and will therefore be responsive to the current and future needs of business in Alabama,” Castile said.
The AlabamaWorks! web portal is designed to quickly connect job seekers and employees and students to the resources they need. The portal is a one-stop location for resources, tools, and information offering connections to Alabama Joblink, the K-12 and community college systems, the Alabama Career Centers, and the network of regional workforce councils.