Gov. Robert Bentley ceremonially signs the Apprenticeship Tax Credit Act and passes pens to the bill’s supporters. The bill was sponsored by Sen. Arthur Orr, left, and Rep. Alan Baker. (Governor’s Office, Sydney A. Foster)

A new program approved this year by the Alabama Legislature aims to invest in the state’s top asset when it comes to recruiting new jobs and capital investment: Its workers.

Apprenticeship Alabama, which will kick off in January, offers tax credits to participating companies that have qualified apprentices who receive classroom instruction and on-the-job training.

The Alabama Department of Commerce will manage the program, which will follow U.S. Department of Labor guidelines for apprenticeships. It will focus on five industry sectors, which are all targeted areas listed in the state’s strategic plan for growth, Accelerate Alabama.