U.S. Sen. Richard Shelby announced Thursday the Alabama Community College System has been awarded an Appalachian Regional Commission grant in the amount of $1,750,000. This grant funding is a part of the Alabama Skills Training to Support Real Opportunities for New Growth (STRONG) project, which will target the coal-impacted communities in 10 counties in the state of Alabama.
“Promoting workforce development is vital to the overall growth and development of our state,” Shelby said. “This ARC grant will provide opportunity for students interested in entering Alabama’s advanced manufacturing industry while also allowing businesses throughout our state to have increased access to a highly skilled workforce. I look forward to continuing to work with ARC and the Alabama Community College System to promote education and economic advancements.”
STRONG seeks to increase awareness about the current and future job opportunities available in the advanced manufacturing sector, which is a growing part of the regional economy. It will provide students and workers with life skills, remedial education, and cutting-edge technical skills and training to prepare them for either additional postsecondary education or direct placement into high-wage and high-demand careers available in our state’s advanced manufacturing industry.
Individual courses will be offered at: Bevill State, Jefferson State, Lawson State, and Shelton State Community Colleges.
The project will provide residents with the benefit of working in advanced manufacturing, and it will serve close to 4,200 participants and their families directly with critical life and technical skills gap training, new job opportunities, and access to vital social and financial services.
Shelby’s office said that at least 2,101 workers and trainees along with 976 students will obtain new or enhanced positions, 1,132 jobs will be retained, seven new jobs will be created and six new programs will be implemented. Overall, there will be 77 participating businesses involved in this project.
Workforce development has been a key focus of Alabama state government and the community college system has been tapped to provide much of that training.
Senator Richard Shelby is the Chairman of the powerful Senate Appropriations Committee.