The State of Alabama has received a grant from the federal government worth $17,827,178.11 that will go towards workforce retraining efforts for workers displaced by the coronavirus pandemic.
Alabama Governor Kay Ivey, whose office announced the news on Tuesday afternoon, said in a statement that the grant will help “reskill the more than 700,000 Alabamians who have filed an initial unemployment claim into an in-demand occupation and a pathway to self-sufficiency.”
On a mechanical level, the Alabama Department of Commerce will channel the new funding into the Alabama Workforce Stabilization Program, an initiative created in recent months that “will assist low-income Alabamians who have been displaced by COVID-19 transition into new fields,” according to the governor’s office.
The grant is part of the federal government’s CARES Act passed in March to help mitigate the economic effects of the pandemic.
However, the workforce grant is not part of the $1.9 billion that the state received in direct funding as part of the CARES Act. Alabama’s newest grant comes from a separate sector of the legislation, the Education Stabilization Fund, which dispensed similar grants to seven other states on Tuesday.
The Education Stabilization Fund is administered by the U.S. Department of Education, which invited states with innovative workforce programs to apply for grants in late spring. State officials created the Alabama Workforce Stabilization Program (AWSP) to meet the moment.
Ivey further commented that AWSP “will help us reach the Alabama postsecondary attainment goal of adding 500,000 additional credentialed workers to Alabama’s workforce by 2025,” a goal that has long been a focus of the governor.
“The AWSP will be targeted at disconnected or dislocated workers with basic skills deficiencies and serving incumbent workers or dislocated workers who are prepared for direct employment,” per a release.
State Workforce Investment Board Chairman George Clark remarked that the grant “is a huge step in the right direction for workforce development in the state, particularly in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I’d like to commend Governor Ivey and Senator Shelby for their commitment to making Alabama the best political and business climate for manufacturers in the U.S,” Clark concluded.