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Baldwin County economic development leader praises ‘Working for Alabama’ impact, future potential

Baldwin County Economic Development Alliance President Lee Lawson said the 2024 legislative session is going to be of great benefit for Alabama’s workforce and economy both now and in the future.  In a recent video, Lawson discussed some of accomplishments made in the “Working for Alabama” package of legislation.

 

“2024 was a very closely followed legislative session for a lot of reasons,” said Lawson. “But the reasons that matter to us from an economic development standpoint was the Working for Alabama package of bills.”

“It encompassed a wide range of things, but mainly focused on workforce development.  Not only aiding our workforce development capabilities across the state, but consolidating agencies and efforts so that there’s a more streamlined approach to how our state approaches workforce development.”

Lawson said that the one of the major goals of the changes is to simply get people who arent working back to work.

“We have a growing demand because of our economic development success. So we have this job availability right now where our pipeline of workforce and our labor participation rate doesn’t match where our success has been.”

RELATED: ‘Working for Alabama’ signed into law as state sets course for economic, workforce growth

“The real aim and the real focus of that was to remove barriers for our people in Alabama to get off the sidelines and get into the workforce, and to help the coming generations that are coming up through our educational system to have a better opportunity to jump right into the workforce.”

He also identified some of the more common hurdles for those who may not be able to join the workforce.

“Child care is one of the number one inhibitors to folks being in the workforce because of a the cost of childcare, the availability of childcare, and then you saw workforce housing tax credit as a part of that package of bills as well. And that’s really affordability. And availability of workforce housing has been a challenge for a lot of areas of our state, especially the fast growing areas of our state, like Baldwin County.”

Lawson praised the joint efforts of those involved in crafting the comprehensive approach.

“All in all, this session really was a focus on workforce development to help aid our economic development policies in Alabama,” Lawson said. “It really was a positive outcome by our legislative leadership, from the governor to the lieutenant governor, to our legislative leadership, to the fallen county legislative delegation, everybody locked arms and made a huge push forward for not only Alabama, our state, but our local economic development entities helping us with our workforce development approach in Alabama.”

Austen Shipley is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on X @ShipleyAusten

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