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Sewell announces $3.6 million grant award to UWA

Rep. Terri Sewell, D-Alabama, has announced the U.S. Department of Labor has awarded nearly $3.6 million to the University of West Alabama to support of rural economic revitalization and workforce development.

This recent $3,598,408 grant was awarded by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration through the Workforce Opportunity for Rural Communities (WORC) grant initiative.

“Workforce development, especially in our rural communities, is vital to uplifting and empowering our most economically vulnerable populations,” said Rep. Sewell. “Ensuring that everyone in Alabama’s 7th Congressional District has access to the tools and training necessary for success has been and remains one of my primary objectives. Everyone deserves the opportunity and dignity of a job, and I’m thrilled that the U.S. Department of Labor has recognized the University of West Alabama with this worthwhile investment.”

Grant funding through the WORC grant initiative has focused on revitalizing rural communities hard hit by economic transition. To qualify, grantees must design projects that seek to address the specific skills of their workforce and needs of their region. The University of West Alabama has designed a project to address barriers and gaps in the west Alabama workforce pipeline.

“We are grateful for the many partners who have come together to assist UWA with the development of the LINCS proposal,” said UWA Vice President for Economic and Workforce Development Dr. Tina Jones. “By tapping into existing workforce systems that have a proven record of success, our goal is to address current barriers and gaps in the workforce pipeline. We want to improve remote delivery and access to relevant workforce training in our rural areas, strengthen connections to employment opportunities, and yield a workforce ready to step into Alabama’s growing advance manufacturing environment.”

UWA will focus on three initiatives: 1) Developing an employer-driven curriculum and fast tracking certificate programs; 2) recruiting and placing new entrants into the workforce and promoting incumbent workers to retain or advance current employment; and 3) establishing and expanding rural apprenticeship initiatives. UWA will do this by partnering with existing organizations.

Congresswoman Terri Sewell is in her fifth term representing Alabama’s Seventh Congressional District.

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Brandon Moseley is a former reporter at the Alabama Political Reporter.

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