For the first time in Alabama, regional and federal entities have joined forces to find solutions to reduce and eliminate the prospective employer/potential employee gap.

On Wed., Aug. 2, representatives from West AlabamaWorks!, which is state, grant and privately funded, joined with members from the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, which is federally funded, to form one united WIOA board. The meeting took place at Phifer Incorporated.

By Amy Materson

The Brookwood Career Center opened its doors to the public May 1, offering a number of exciting options to job seekers across West Alabama. The “pop-up” center, located at 15706 Highway 216 across from the Brookwood Town Hall, is funded from more than $1.5 million in Appalachian Regional Commission grants and is part of an initiative that will deliver a range of job training services that will fill acute workforce needs in automotive and other manufacturing industries in the area.

For many of us, a babysitting gig was our first job. Training for the position is important, for the sitters and for the parents’ peace of mind. How can young people who want to land a great babysitting job get the necessary training they need?

The DCH Health System will help young teens be better babysitters through Safe Sitter classes offered in June and July.

Back in August, SMP Automotive Systems announced it would invest over $150 million in a 700,000 square foot facility in Cottondale, near the Mercedes-Benz plant in Vance. The plant is expected to eventually create 650 new jobs for workers within its first four years of operation.

And now, that appears closer than ever before. Ground is being moved at the site of the new SMP Automotive Facility, which will be located in the Cedar Cove Technology Park.  Construction is slated to begin over the summer.

Shelton State Community College will be able to establish a new program to train and certify workers for jobs needed by area auto industry employers, thanks to a nearly $400 thousand grant from the State of Alabama.

Gov. Robert Bentley last week announced a $368,266 Appalachian Regional Commission grant to help west Alabama workers qualify for careers in the automotive manufacturing industry.

Druid City Living (DCL) is Tuscaloosa, Alabama's premier community newspaper, covering the great people, places and activities of the area.