Lake Martin Area Economic Development Authority hosts regional workforce development officials

By Mitch Sneed,

Published 10:34 am Thursday, November 3, 2016

SL Alabama Plant Manager Jack Coltrain explains the process of making headlights and taillights to the Region 5 group. (Cliff Williams / The Outlook)

Members of the Alabama Department of Commerce Workforce Region 5 Council were hosted by the Lake Martin Area Economic Development Authority and toured industrial plants and education centers in Alexander City Wednesday to learn about workforce development in the area.

With 13 counties in the region, Region 5 Council member Alfred Davis thinks it is important to see what others are doing in Region 5 and maybe take little bits and pieces back to there own counties.

“We are doing a set of tours through the 13 counties in the region,” Davis said. “We try to group two counties together at a time for the tours and show members what is happening in other parts of the region.”

The 7 Regional Workforce Development Councils have been established and provide a direct link to the workforce needs of business and industry at the local level. The councils are business-driven and business-led and work with their member counties to develop a regional strategic plan and comprehensive workforce development system that supports local economic and job development activities.

The local area is heavily represented on the District 5 council. LMAEDA Executive Director Don McClellan, Wayne Embry with SL Alaman, Ron Stiver with Wellington, and Jay Dowdle with Madix all serve as members of the council

The councils make funding recommendations for grant applications submitted, based on the documented needs of the Region as identified in their strategic plans. Wednesday, nearly 20 members of the council first stopped at Benjamin Russell High School to see what they do to prepare students before stopping at SL Alabama.

After hearing a brief history of how SL started in South Korea following the Korean War making lights for bicycles, Plant Manager Jack Coltrain took the group on a tour the facility seeing how it uses plastic injection molding, robotics and assembly lines to create front and rear headlights to be used in Hyundai and Kia vehicles before moving on to Wellington in Kellyton and Central Alabama Community College.

Members of the council were surprised at SL Alabama. “I didn’t know you did all this in Alexander City,” one member said. “I am surprised at how clean this place is with the use and making of fiberglass and plastic products,” another said.

The multi-stop tour included sites that showed how the cooperative effort between LMAEDA, area educational institutions and area industries is helping make sure that a trained workforce is available for area industries and employers.