By Josh Moon
Alabama Political Reporter
Whether you’re looking for a job, looking for an employee or seeking information about education or training programs, in Alabama, there’s now a website for that.
Alabamaworks.com, the first step in a major effort to streamline the partnership between the State’s workforce development, private businesses and education entities, officially launched Tuesday. It will serve as the frontpage for the State’s efforts.
“This is the culmination of three years’ of work,” said Greg Canfield, Secretary of the Department of Commerce. “This effort will make it easier for workers to obtain the training and education that today’s industries are looking for, and then it will help connect those workers to the employers who need them.”
Officials announced the launch of the website and newly named program at a press conference in Montgomery on Tuesday morning. Several State leaders and business executives were in attendance, and officials with the Alabama Workforce Council – which created the program – said it was the cooperation of those various entities that makes the entire project possible.
“We didn’t want to settle for a mere touch-up (of existing programs),” said George Clark, president of Manufacture Alabama an vice-chairman of the Workforce Council. “We called for a new identity, a new brand. And we needed everyone involved in workforce development – State agencies, education and the business sector – all pulling together in the same direction.”
Workforce officials said the new program will begin in Alabama schools as early as elementary school, as career coaches begin working with students to identify their goals, work on their strengths and match them to programs that prepare them for their chosen careers.
The effort is similar to programs in other states, those officials said, but Alabama’s will be much more comprehensive because of the involvement of private businesses and every level of state education – K-12, community colleges and four-year universities.
“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.”
In the end, the council members say they hope the partnership will result in more Alabama citizens employed in better jobs, which will lift the entire State.
“The (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, chairman of the Workforce Council and executive vice-president at Alabama Power Co. “We are doing that by providing a tool to match the needs of employers with the job seekers across our State to grow our economy and raise the standard of living for Alabamians.”