Tuesday, Alabama Governor Kay Ivey (R) announced a transition of leadership for the Alabama Workforce Council. Ivey announced that Tim McCartney, formerly of McCartney Construction, will be the new chairman and issued a commendation thanking outgoing Chairman Zeke Smith for his service.
“The Alabama Workforce Council seeks to analyze and understand issues that will help build a stronger, more sustainable workforce, thereby improving the lives of Alabama’s workers and their families by creating new employment opportunities in our state,” Governor Ivey said. “Zeke Smith has been an integral part of that process as Chairman of the Alabama Workforce Council. His leadership has benefited employees and employers alike, as well as economy in our state, and I congratulate him on completing an outstanding term of service on the Alabama Workforce Council.”
The Alabama Workforce Council serves as an advisory body of business and industry leaders tasked with formulating policies, developing innovative educational workforce programming and discussing issues critical to workforce development needs in Alabama.
Zeke Smith is the Executive Vice President of Alabama Power. He has served as Chairman of the Alabama Workforce Council since it was established in 2014. George Clark of Manufacture Alabama has served as Vice Chairman.
“I am thankful for the opportunity to work with this special group of leaders who are represented on the Alabama Workforce Council,” Zeke Smith said. “There are too many to call by name, but I hope that you know how much I appreciate each of you. Together we have made tremendous strides in raising awareness of state workforce needs and have taken action to create opportunities for those looking to build a career in Alabama.”
Governor Ivey welcomed incoming Alabama Workforce Council Chairman Tim McCartney and new Vice Chairwoman Sandra Koblas with Austal USA.
Ivey challenged the Alabama Workforce Council to focus on implementing the Success Plus plan – one part of her Strong Start, Strong Finish education initiative. The plan was developed by a committee of the Alabama Workforce Council to address Alabama’s increasing need for workers with certificates, credentials, or degrees in addition to a high school diploma.
“I share the vision of the governor and believe that the Success Plus plan provides us a blueprint as a Council moving forward,” Tim McCartney said. “I would like to ask each committee to adopt one of five priorities identified in the Success Plus plan as their committee focus moving forward.”
Over the past four years, recommendations made by the Alabama Workforce Council have resulted in the realignment of the state’s workforce structure, increased productivity of the regional workforce development councils, encouraged collaboration between the education and business communities, helped grow the number of career coaches in the state’s public high schools, developed a statewide AlabamaWorks! workforce brand, and established a statewide educational attainment goal.
The Alabama education system is widely acknowledged as one of the worst in the entire country. Former Governor Robert Bentley (R) admitted publicly that, “Our education system sucks.” The adoption of the controversial College and Career Ready standards, which were aligned with Bill Gates’ Common Core, has produced no positive tangible benefits to this point.
Of Alabamians age 25 and older, 540,000 do not have a high school diploma or equivalent. 992,000 have nothing beyond a high school diploma. 703,000 have some college. 236,000 have an associates degree. 458,000 have a bachelor’s degree. 188,000 have master’s degrees. 45,600 have professional degrees and 30,800 have doctoral degrees.
The state is finding that more and more of today’s jobs require a two-year certificate or higher.
Compounding the problem is that many of those students who finish high school do not leave with a career path or a marketable skill. There is a growing demand for skilled trades; but there is a declining pool of qualified workers for those positions and the state is struggling to keep up with the demand.