Friday, Alabama Governor Kay Ivey (R) addressed the Public Affairs Research Council of Alabama (PARCA) at the annual Albert Brewer Legacy lunch at the Harbert Center in Birmingham.
Albert Brewer (D) (1928-1917) was elevated to Governor in 1968 when Lurleen Wallace (D) died in office from cancer. Later in life, while on the faculty at Samford, he became the first Executive Director of PARCA.
“In 1962 I was elected Lt. Governor of Girl’s State and Albert Brewer was Speaker of the House,” Ivey said. “He spent his time explaining to me how state government works. A small act of kindness can have a huge impact on somebody’s life.”
Ivey said that in 1970 she was a volunteer for Gov. Brewer when he ran for re-election. He lost to former Gov. George C. Wallace.
“2.7 percent unemployment is the lowest in the history of the state,” Ivey said. The state also has a 56.8 labor participation which is a 1.28 percent improvement over Ivey’s term. 72,000 people have been added to the work force in the Ivey Administration.
“It might be hard to top the $8.7 billion in investments announced in the state in 2018,” Ivey said. “It is the investment of employers and the hard work of the people of Alabama that keep the Alabama economy moving forward.”
“The Workforce Council of Alabama has set the goal of 500,000 employees with post-secondary credentials by 2025,” Ivey said. “It is going to take work across all aspects of our education and workforce development system to achieve this.”
“I want to thank the Alabama Workforce Council and PARCA in their work to achieve this goal,” Ivey added.
Ivey said that the state is driving the integration between education and workforce development so that the next generation has the best start possible.
Wee-Cat for three year old, computer science expansion to every high school in the state, and emphasizing STEM careers like never before are efforts that Ivey said her administration is making to improve education in Alabama.
Ivey said that STEM jobs “are growing twice as fast as other careers.”
“I am not only focusing on new workers entering the workforce; but also those on the fringes so that they can move up,” Ivey said on increasing the number of Alabama workers with credentials.
“Work based learning is the key to getting employees the training that they need to be successful employees,” Ivey said. “We have created the Alabama Office of apprenticeship.”
“I will give the state of the state address on Tuesday night,” Ivey said. “I will be sending a challenge on the areas that we need to improve.”
“The upcoming census is absolutely essential,” Ivey said. “Even if you are out of state but are in Alabama on April first fill out that census form. It is critical.”
“We are going to lose a congressman and a ton of federal money,” Ivey explained if the census is undercounted. “Over a million young people including children went uncounted ten years ago.”
“Another issue that has gone unaddressed for a long time is the dangerous conditions of our prisons.” Ivey warned. The federal courts could take it over if we don’t act. “We must buckle down.”
“The status quo is not an option,” Ivey said. “My Commissioner of Correction Jeff Dunn is spearheading the effort to turn our facilities from warehousing to rehabilitation.”
Ivey said that she wants the prisoners to “Learn a skill so they don’t come back.”
“Alabama is at the bottom in about every education category that can be found,” Ivey said. “Too many of our third graders cannot read and too many of our high school graduates are not ready for a career or college.”
“Vote yes on amendment one when you go to the polls on March 3,” Ivey said. “We have had three superintendents in five years. We can do better.”
Amendment one will replace the existing elected state Board of Education with a commission appointed by the Governor.
“I am confident that we will find solutions to our problems,” Ivey said. “I will continue to partner with you.”
Governor Ivey was in a sling due to tripping over the first dog at the mansion earlier in the week and had deferred necessary surgery in part to attend Friday’s PARCA event.
PARCA will be hosting columnist George Will on September 17 for their annual fundraiser.