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Ainsworth sets goal for Alabama ‘to be the workforce development engine of the southeast and the country’

HOOVER — To kick off the Alabama Economic Growth Summit on Friday morning, Lt. Governor Will Ainsworth spoke about many of the nonpartisan initiatives he is working on to move the Yellowhammer State forward.

While he touched on a slew of important issues, such as making Alabama the most military- and veteran-friendly state in the nation, one area of focus stands out for his office.

“Workforce development and job creation — that’s our office’s number one priority,” Ainsworth said.

“My goal for workforce development is for us to be the workforce development engine of the southeast and the country,” he explained.

Ainsworth also mentioned his current chairmanship of the Aerospace States Association.

At a recent conference for that association in Denver, CO, a major industry CEO headquartered in that city and from California told Ainsworth “there’s nowhere else in the country we’d rather do business than Alabama.”

Ainsworth praised the tremendous economic development work of so many in the public and private sectors that have made the state’s business climate what it is today.

He specifically extolled what the future of the aerospace and defense industry in Alabama could potentially entail.

“[P]rotecting space is going to be a big part of defense, and Alabama’s going to be positioned more so than any other state in the country to benefit from that,” Ainsworth advised. “It’s exciting.”

One other key point Ainsworth made was praising Alabama’s voluntary First Class Pre-K program, which has been recognized as the nation’s best for 13 consecutive years. Speakers throughout the day stressed how important education, from early childhood through postsecondary, is to the state’s workforce development efforts.

“If you look at our 21st century pre-k program and the work that Jeana Ross [and] our education people have done, it’s great. No matter where I go in the state and the country, people know about our pre-k program,” Ainsworth said. “I’m so proud of what we’ve done in that [regard].”

Sean Ross is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn