MONTGOMERY, Ala. – Alabama business, education and workforce training leaders announced today a major step in transforming the state’s workforce development efforts into one unified system. The new system, AlabamaWorks, will seamlessly link employers looking for skilled workers with Alabamians seeking jobs or job training.
AlabamaWorks is the result of an ambitious, business-driven initiative and partnership between leaders in the private and public sectors.
“The Alabama Workforce Council and our partners are focused on helping transform the state’s workforce system to dramatically improve the livelihoods for millions of Alabama families for years to come,” said Zeke Smith, executive vice president at Alabama Power Co. and chairman of the Alabama Workforce Council. “We are doing that today by providing a tool to match the needs of employers with job seekers across our state to grow our economy and raise the standard of living for Alabamians.”
Today’s announcement marked a major milestone in the unification of Alabama’s workforce system, bringing together key components of the K-12 and two-year college systems, state workforce training and placement services, and industry. AlabamaWorks will more easily connect businesses with job seekers and help prepare workers by linking them to career and job training opportunities. Over the course of the next year, each of the state’s seven newly restructured Regional Workforce Councils will integrate its services into the new AlabamaWorks brand.
“We didn’t want to settle for a mere touch-up. We called for a new identity, a new brand – recognizable, descriptive and effective,” said George Clark, president of Manufacture Alabama and vice chairman of the Alabama Workforce Council. “And we needed everyone involved in workforce development – state agencies, education and the business sector – all pulling together in the same direction.”
Ed Castile, deputy secretary of the Department of Commerce and executive director of Alabama Industrial Development and Training (AIDT), said the backbone of AlabamaWorks will be the seven local Regional Workforce Councils, local Alabama Career Centers and the new website www.AlabamaWorks.com. “Our system is driven by local businesses and will therefore be responsive to the current and future needs of businesses in Alabama. Each Regional Workforce Council will be able to focus on the business sectors within its geographical area,” he said.
“The real game-changer for AlabamaWorks is the unified nature of education resources, workforce training programs and the private sector,” said Jeff Lynn, senior executive director of workforce and economic development for the Alabama Community College System. “We will be a national leader in fully integrating education and training programs to match the high-wage, high-demand jobs available in today’s and tomorrow’s economy.”
“Today is about a lot more than a new brand and new logo,” added Greg Canfield, secretary of the Alabama Department of Commerce. “It’s about taking Alabama to the national forefront of workforce development so that every person in Alabama who wants to find a job can, and so that every employer that comes to Alabama will be able to hire the skilled workers it needs. We truly believe that we are building a system that will soon become a national model.”
“We are moving a workforce system that was already good to one that is more cohesive, focused and better meets the needs of employers and residents,” said Fitzgerald Washington, secretary of the Alabama Department of Labor. “Our career center services are available to both job seekers and employers, and are completely free of charge. We have a high success rate in matching job seekers with employers, and it’s our hope that even more Alabamians will take advantage of these great services.”
“Our K-12 system is greatly expanding the dual-eligible curriculum that allows high school students to graduate with the skills needed for one of the high-wage, high-skill jobs of the future. This will continue to grow as an important part of our Alabama workforce system moving forward,” said Philip Cleveland with the Alabama Department of Education.
The new AlabamaWorks web portal, www.alabamaworks.com, has been designed to quickly connect employers, job seekers and students to the resources they need. The portal provides quick access to resources, information and tools in one easy-to-use location offering connections to AlabamaWorks Workforce System, the K-12 and community college systems, the Alabama Career Centers and the network of Regional Workforce Councils.