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Workforce Under Construction Part 5: Regional Workforce Councils

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To better understand workforce needs across the state, 10 Regional Workforce Councils, along with the East Alabama Workforce Investment Network (EAWIN), were created as part of Governor Bentley’s workforce development strategy. “These councils create a direct link to the workforce needs of business and industry at the local level,” said EAWIN Executive/Region 8 Director Alfred Davis, Sr. “The councils are business-driven and business-led and work with their member counties to develop a regional strategic plan. This comprehensive workforce development system supports local economic and job development activities.”

Region 8 (Bullock, Chambers, Lee, Macon and Russell Counties), which includes EAWIN, has achieved many accomplishments thus far in educating K-12 students about the benefits of a career in the construction industry. Earlier this year, the group held the EAWIN Career Discovery 2015 Expo, which was a huge success. The participating companies of the Career Discovery engaged almost 4,000 eighth grade students from public, private and home schools (along with their teachers, parents, chaperones and administrators) in interactive, career-related activities that gave them a glimpse into the kinds of careers possible in the industry. Plans are already underway for next year’s Career Discover, which will be held at Auburn University. “Only three regions in the state currently have this career expo in place,” said Davis. “We would love to have more construction companies involved in these expos so that we can engage more kid and show that a career in construction is a great decision.”

In addition to reaching out to K-12 students, Region 8 is working on apprenticeship programs in coordination with Southern Union State Community College, the East Alabama Industrial Consortium and industries in East Alabama. “The program trains prospective employees for industrial tasks, with particular focus on machining, industrial maintenance, electronics and robotics,” said Davis. “These industries support the region’s Industrial Machine Technicians Apprenticeship Program by providing part-time jobs for enrolled students.”

More information: www.eawin.org.

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