Central 6 Alabama Works! helps local education meet industry needs

Published 3:00 pm Tuesday, October 10, 2017

By JOYANNA LOVE/ Senior Staff Writer

Central 6 Alabama Works! partners with local schools and industry to ensure potential employees are meeting the needs of the region’s industries.

“One of the things we have recognized across the state of Alabama is we are losing our talent supply, and a lot of that is because we are not training our talent to meet the demands of our industry,” Central 6 executive director Antiqua Cleggett said. “So, what we are doing to really change that is to train our talent for the demands of our industry … so they our equipped with the skills that will keep them right here in the state of Alabama.”

Industries of focus include construction, advanced manufacturing, healthcare and information technology.

Cleggert said information technology is a large and growing industry in this region.

Central 6, so named because it covers the six central counties in Alabama, is a part of the Alabama Works program. The program of workforce councils was originally established by Governor Bob Riley and has been continued by the state legislature.

Chilton County is a part of Central 6 and partnerships have been established at both the K-12 and community college level.

Alabama Works asks new and existing industries their needs and works with school systems to helps educators ensure their programs will meet those needs.

“We approach workforce development from a business standpoint, from the industry’s vantage point,” Cleggett said.

Jefferson State Community College, including the Clanton campus, is just one of the colleges the program works with.

“We look at their curriculum design and how it lines up to that specific industry,” Cleggett said.

Cleggett said the regional office works closely with the Chilton County Schools career tech program, including LeCroy Career Tech Center.

“I think it is amazing,” Cleggert said. “It is one of the better career tech centers across the region.”

She said the robotics program and plans to add a machine tooling program were two outstanding elements.

Cleggert said students at LeCroy have told her the center helped give them a better sense of knowing what they want to do after high school.

New for this year Central 6 is hosting a World of Work with Skills USA allowing eighth-grade students from around the region to experience different industries through hands-on activities.

“They will really be able to get in there and see what each industry is like,” Cleggert said.

She said industry representatives will “simulate what their workplace looks like” and what a job in the field would require.

Alabama Works workforce councils also oversee grants for workforce development related programs to community colleges.  The Clanton campus of Jefferson State Community College recently received a grant for specialized mannequins used to simulate a patient for the nursing program.

Training opportunities are also available for some industries from Alabama Works in relation to employability skills. In St. Clair County, the Jeff State campus partners with a local industry to provide an apprenticeship training program for employees.

Visit centralsix.org for more information.