2 years ago

AlabamaWorks! Is on Track for Employers, Employees

Ed Castile

What began several years ago as a vision for developing a skilled workforce and ensuring continued industry success is now a reality. In November 2016, AlabamaWorks officially launched, bringing together all the components of Alabama’s workforce development system under one brand.

AlabamaWorks unites Alabama businesses and industries with our education, workforce training and job placement systems. The goal was to bridge the gap between unfilled jobs and a qualified workforce, and we are doing that.

Along with business and industry leaders, partners in AlabamaWorks include the Alabama Department of Commerce and AIDT; the Alabama State Department of Education and its Career/Technical Education Program; the Alabama Community College System; the Alabama Technology Network; the Alabama Department of Labor and its Alabama Career Center System; and the Alabama Department of Rehabilitation Services.

AlabamaWorks also included reconfiguring the state’s original 10 regional workforce councils into seven, each led by a director. The councils determine the needs of their regions through industry clusters that range from healthcare to automotive, transportation to aerospace, and construction to machining. It simply depends on the area’s needs.

Our regional directors have been busy — coordinating job fairs, hosting cluster meetings, working with the media, and planning events that expose students and job seekers to various career opportunities.

Each regional director is paired with a Department of Commerce employee, who is a regional workforce council liaison. Together, they coordinate resources to meet workforce needs of that region.

To ensure our goals are met, our regional directors have specific metrics they must achieve, such as conducting needs assessments, creating annual strategic plans, formulating grants committees, etc. I am pleased to say that all directors are on track to meet their targets.

One milestone for each regional director is to introduce eighth-graders to opportunities in the technical fields. These events go by different names — “Worlds Of Opportunity,” “Worlds of Work,” “Career Discovery” – but they all provide hands-on experiences for students to learn about careers that don’t require a four-year degree. Company representatives also share information about wages, positions available and what type of training or education is required.

In addition to exposing students to technical careers, we also have an apprenticeship program. Launched in January by the Department of Commerce, Apprenticeship Alabama has made significant strides for both employers and employees.

Presently, we have 31 companies and hundreds of apprentices in our system. While the apprentice earns a wage and receives on-the-job training, the registered company gains a qualified employee AND receives a tax credit. Apprentices can expect to earn a higher wage upon successful completion of the program.

One company that is experiencing success with Apprenticeship Alabama is Newman Technology of Alabama, Inc. Newman Technology needed training for some of its existing employees to advance their skills and careers, but wasn’t certain how to proceed. They contacted a representative at Northeast Alabama Community College to discuss company needs and what the college could offer. As a result, Newman now has five apprentices who are getting formal instruction via college courses while receiving on-the-job training with other skilled Newman employees.

To stretch dollars and manpower even further, the Alabama workforce system is combining its resources with those from the federal government through the Workforce Innovation Opportunity Act.

Previously, WIOA had three local boards to cover the entire state. Now, WIOA boards are aligning with the seven regions. The first local board meeting was convened by West AlabamaWorks a few weeks ago. There are now five new local boards and two expanded local boards.

AlabamaWorks has also been an asset in industry recruitment. When industry representatives are seeking sites for their companies, they look at the area in its entirety — including its potential workforce. The Alabama Department of Commerce uses AlabamaWorks and its partners as a recruiting tool.

Recently, state leaders announced that several companies are coming to Alabama and another is returning. Dynetics (Huntsville) broke ground on a new facility. Meanwhile, Wolverine Tube (Decatur) announced it will reopen, creating 250 jobs. These and other companies see the value in what we have to offer.

Although we have a lot of work still to do, I feel we have achieved a great deal during the past several months. Through AlabamaWorks, people are working together like never before to ensure Alabama jobs are filled with trained applicants.

For more information on finding employees, posting a job, training or a finding a job, please visit the www.alabamaworks.com website.


 

About the Author: Ed Castile is deputy secretary of the Alabama Department of Commerce/Workforce Development Division and executive director of AIDT.

10 hours ago

Bradley Byrne campaign announces launch of ‘Farmers for Bradley’ coalition

Bradley Byrne’s campaign for United States Senate announced Friday that key leaders from Alabama’s agriculture community have launched a “Farmers for Bradley” coalition to support Byrne.

Agriculture remains the top industry in Alabama, and we need a Senator who will not only vote right, but who will actually fight tooth and nail to support our farmers, landowners, and agribusinesses,” Byrne said in a statement. “To have such a strong group of agriculture leaders backing our campaign is a real honor and a testament to the hard work we have done over the years to support our Alabama farmers.”

Both State Senator Andrew Jones (R-Centre) and Mark Kaiser from Baldwin County, who lead the coalition, believe Byrne will fight for farmers in the Senate.

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“When I first met Bradley, it was clear he is a fighter,” Jones said. “Agriculture is a very difficult industry with a wide range of challenges, so it is so important we have a U.S. Senator who will work with our farmers and leaders at the state level to make life a little easier.”

Kaiser echoed Jones’ comments and said, “Bradley just gets it when it comes to agriculture. He has taken the time to learn about the various issues impacting Alabama’s agriculture community, and he has used that knowledge to fight for us in Washington. Bradley doesn’t just talk the talk, he walks the walk.”

“Bradley has an impressive record as a champion for Alabama’s farmers,” a press release stated. “From supporting the Farm Bill to cutting bureaucratic red tape, Bradley has always fought to ensure the farm economy remains stable and fair. Bradley plans to continue the fight for farmers by seeking a seat on the Senate Agriculture Committee.”

Kyle Morris also contributes daily to Breitbart News. You can follow him on Twitter @RealKyleMorris.

11 hours ago

Did a police officer go for his gun or not? This is not an appropriate resolution to the Alabama A&M/UNA issue

Last weekend, the Alabama A&M Bulldogs upset the University of North Alabama Lions in a football game that most of you didn’t know even took place by a 31-24 score.

After the game, a series of allegations were made that were pretty serious and require further investigation.

Here are the problems Bulldogs’ head coach Connell Maynor pointed out:

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  • “It ain’t 1959, we don’t have to put up with that type stuff.”
  • Alabama A&M received no free tickets or tickets to sell to the public
  • Alabama A&M player weren’t allowed access to the field prior to two hours before the game
  • Alabama A&M coaches were told to have their credentials hanging around their neck, UNA coaches had theirs around their waist
  • His assistant coaches were not able to use the elevator right away because of fans being given priority
  • “There was too much stuff that went on off the field, behind the scenes that was not professional on their part at all.”
  • “And we were very very disappointed in the way they treated us, in every aspect off the field.”
  • The teams will not play again

And most importantly, according to the Florence Times Daily:

Maynor also alleged an incident occurred in which a police officer put “his hand on his gun” and saying “Did you hear what he said?” during an argument between a coach and security.

Whoa… what?

A police officer put his hand on his weapon during an argument with staff?

Wait.

A police officer put his hand on his weapon during an argument with the staff of a Historically Black College and University at a football game?

Why don’t we know what agency this officer was with?

His name?

The name of the coach involved?

This is a serious allegation and is, no doubt, a racially tinged accusation.

There must be an investigation of this entire situation.

Only, there will not be an investigation. Alabama A&M has made it clear neither the coach nor the school will be commenting further, which is insane.

Alabama A&M’s head coach is alleging some pretty serious stuff, including a police officer going for his gun over a coach’s access to part of a football stadium.

Instead, we got a statement from the two schools that says the following:

“Alabama A&M University and the University of North Alabama are vital educational institutions that serve the North Alabama region and beyond. Both institutions are committed to working collaboratively to advance our respective missions. We are separated by 76 miles; however, we remain united in ensuring the viability of our institutions and the success of our students, faculty, staff, alumni, friends, and programs, both academically and athletically. As part of that collaborative commitment, both universities have been in communication since Monday about the recent UNA-AAMU football game at Braly Stadium to decide what, if any, next steps are necessary. Both institutions are committed to providing a safe, accommodating, friendly, and inclusive environment. We remain dedicated to furthering our relationship and enjoying a bright future, both on and off the field.”

The highlight is this (bold text added for emphasis):

As part of that collaborative commitment, both universities have been in communication since Monday about the recent UNA-AAMU football game at Braly Stadium to decide what, if any, next steps are necessary.

To put it bluntly, that statement is complete garbage.

Was there racism or not?

Was this just normal rivalry stuff?

Was there an effort by the University of North Alabama to behave in a way that Alabama A&M’s coach, staff, and players led to these words by a state employee about another state institution?

Is Coach Maynor lying?

If he is, why is he still employed?

If he is not, why don’t we know what actually happened?

Why is this police officer still on the job?

Shame on everyone involved in this situation, especially the leadership of these universities who have no interest in getting to the bottom of what actually happened.

Dale Jackson is a contributing writer to Yellowhammer News and hosts a talk show from 7-11 am weekdays on WVNN

11 hours ago

OIG report: ‘Serious issues,’ possible misuse of taxpayer dollars at Alabama Women’s Business Center locations

The U.S. Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Office of Inspector General (OIG) has released a report identifying “serious” material deficiencies with Women’s Business Center, Inc., an Alabama-based recipient of the SBA’s Women’s Business Center (WBC) grant program.

Women’s Business Center, Inc. is responsible for operating two WBCs, located in Mobile and Brewton.

In the course of the OIG’s audit of SBA’s oversight of the nationwide WBC program, Women’s Business Center, Inc. denied OIG auditors access to both coastal Alabama center’s offices and records.

After issuing an administrative subpoena, the SBA OIG uncovered that both WBCs had actually been permanently closed since the fall of 2018 yet were still collecting federal government funds.

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Further violations uncovered by the OIG included inadequately staffing centers, late and unpaid payroll, a major potential conflict of interest and failure to maintain an adequate financial management system and audited financial statements.

The OIG’s report concluded:

We determined that the Recipient has materially violated federal statutes, regulations, and the terms and conditions of its cooperative agreements. Its lack of required financial systems, records, and policies, and inability to pay its obligations, maintain open and available facilities and service hours, and staff its WBCs with full-time program directors indicates serious issues in the Recipient’s ability to operate and fulfill the WBC program requirements. We have deemed the documentation the Recipient has provided to us to be insufficient and incomplete. The Recipient denied access to OIG, an independent, authorized oversight entity, and disregarded governing federal regulations and terms and conditions of its cooperative agreements.

These findings impel SBA to take prompt corrective action to protect taxpayers’ dollars and help to ensure the integrity of the WBC program. SBA should pursue actions including, but not limited to, suspension, termination, and nonrenewal of the Recipient’s cooperative agreements, as well as suspension and debarment of the Recipient and its personnel.

In a statement reacting to the OIG report, U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL), chairman of the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, said, “The gross lack of oversight uncovered in the SBA OIG’s most recent management advisory is incredibly troubling.”

“SBA must take action to remedy the numerous deficiencies identified and enact the Office of Inspector General’s recommendations immediately,” he added. “I appreciate the Office of the Inspector General’s diligence in this matter and look forward to its swift resolution.”

Read the OIG report here.

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

12 hours ago

Ivey back in Montgomery after outpatient procedure ‘went well and as planned’

Governor Kay Ivey on Friday underwent an initial outpatient procedure at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) for early-stage lung cancer.

This followed her Thursday announcement that disclosed the next day’s procedure and radiation treatments to follow.

In a statement, Ivey’s press secretary, Gina Maiola, said, “The governor’s outpatient procedure today at UAB went well and as planned.”

“She is back in Montgomery and looks forward to returning to her regular schedule next week,” Maiola concluded.

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RELATED: Support pours in after Ivey announces cancer diagnosis — ‘No step too high for a high-stepper’

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

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