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Etowah program helps ‘EQWIP’ students for careers

Job and career opportunities for Etowah County students were on display for educators last week, thanks to a workforce development program.

The program – the Etowah Qualified Workforce Immersion Program (EQWIP) – is through a partnership with the Chamber of Gadsden & Etowah County, East AlabamaWorks, Gadsden State Community College, the Etowah County School System, Gadsden City Schools, and Attalla City Schools.

“Those graduates can help us fill our workforce pipeline,” said Lisa Morales, director of East AlabamaWorks. “They may go to a two-year college or a four-year university; they may go into the military or go straight into the workforce.

“But, at the end of the day, they’ll all go to work and that is what we need.”

The program provides exposure to the educators to the educational and career opportunities available for graduates.

The EQWIP program includes visits to local companies and a discussion session during lunch. After lunch, the group tours one of three Gadsden State campuses.

“They saw the options available to their students,” said Alan Smith, dean of Workforce Development and Technical Education at Gadsden State. “They saw that their students can learn technical skills and employability skills right here in Etowah County and, in two years or less, they can have an amazing, rewarding career.”

Chamber President Christi Robinson echoed those thoughts.

“This was an important day that showcased economic and workforce development in Etowah County to hundreds of teachers, counselors and administrators,” she said. “Through EQWIP, we showed how business, industry and education must work hand-in-hand for the betterment of our communities.”

David Palmore is a contributing writer to Yellowhammer News.

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