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Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey at workforce summit: ‘This is our opportunity, let’s not waste a moment’

Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey said keeping and developing workers must be a priority for the state’s economic development efforts.

“In all my years of public service, I have never seen our state so full of opportunities,” she said. “This is our opportunity; let’s not waste a moment.”

Ivey addressed business leaders from across the state at the Second Annual Governor’s Summit on Talent Retention and Work-based Learning in Mobile May 3-5.

The three-day summit, hosted by the Alabama Office of Apprenticeship and the Economic Development Partnership of Alabama’s FuelAL program, brought together professionals in workforce, education and economic development to listen to keynote speakers and panelists who shared best practices and their unique perspectives on how talent retention and work-based learning can benefit each component of a successful economy.

The key takeaway from this conference? Research, diversity and understanding are part of the driving force for economic development across the state.

During the Recruiting and Retaining Diverse Talent panel, Patricia Sims, president of Drake State Community College, said one of the most important things organizations can do, whether it’s for an intern, apprentice or employee, is to allow them to be their authentic selves.

“We have to make sure that a culture of inclusion is created, and that they can add value, which works in tandem. Forbes Magazine continues to hone in on the idea that diverse ideas are the key driver for businesses. You’re able to bring new and fresh perspectives which give you value and edge.”

Alabama Commerce Secretary Greg Canfield noted that a record 196 countries imported Alabama products in 2022. Canfield said the Department of Commerce is “working hard to make sure the future is made in Alabama.”

Ivey added her call to action: “We recognize that we must retain high quality talent that we train.”

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