As a born and raised native of Mobile, Sydney Raine understood the value of investing in local students and communities early on by connecting them with local opportunities.
With more than 50 years of experience under his belt working in career development programs, Raine has provided career opportunities to students and individuals at various educational institutions and businesses across Southwest Alabama.
As president of Southwest Alabama Partnership for Training and Employment (SWAPTE), Raine has led the charge of forming partnerships with regional organizations and institutions, such as Bishop State Community College.
“Several students enrolled at Bishop State are also enrolled in our [SWAPTE’s] workforce program,” Raine said. “Through our program, we are able to assist and support them as they undergo their training and provide them with necessary skills that give them a competitive edge when they enter the workforce.”
SWAPTE is dedicated to building a world-class workforce to create a stronger economy in Alabama and across the country. Raine’s leadership at SWAPTE has helped provide a network of resources, including comprehensive employment, career counseling, and job training services to businesses and jobseekers through their Alabama Career Centers.
Raine’s dedication to the Mobile-based community college extends beyond job placement. His leadership at SWAPTE helped connect major businesses like Alabama Power with the college’s lineworker training program. The partnership has provided students with the opportunity to gain hands-on experience and skills necessary to succeed in the energy industry.
The program at Bishop State is home to three classrooms, a learning laboratory and an outdoor training field where students aiming to be future lineworkers can practice their newly learned skills. Students also have access to the latest lineman vehicles, also provided by Alabama Power, to gain real-world experience with the very equipment they will encounter in the workforce post-graduation.
“Our lineman training program is vital for economic development and workforce success, especially right now,” said Raine when talking about the partnership between Bishop State and Alabama Power. “95 percent of students who graduate from this program will immediately have a job.”
Along with assisting students so they get the hands-on skills needed to compete in the job market, Raine knows having a diverse and unique workforce is key to economic success, especially in a strategic city like Mobile.
“We have people from all walks of life enter our program,” he said. “Their unique experiences and backgrounds bring a lot to the table. Our goal is to give them the opportunity they need to not only get a job but succeed in that job.”
An addition to supporting students, Raine and and SWAPTE provide people seeking a career change with opportunities to further themselves in their current fields in the Mobile area and beyond. SWAPTE’s reach extends beyond Mobile to Baldwin, Choctaw, Clarke, Conecuh, Escambia, Monroe, Washington, and Wilcox counties.
Looking back on his career and his time devoted to training programs, Raine said he can see how much SWAPTE has advanced and improved the lives of so many students, supporting workforce development in Southwest Alabama. When asked about the most valuable lesson he has learned in his successful career, he said it all came down to providing opportunity and giving people a chance to succeed.