MONTGOMERY, AL (STL.News) Alabama Governor Kay Ivey, along with the Appalachian Regional Commission, have announced a $1.5 million grant to put Alabama’s workforce on the fast track to meet the growing demand for jobs in several occupations.
The grant, announced by the ARC on Wednesday, to Bevill State Community College will result in the renovation and expansion of a training facility at the college’s campus in Hamilton. The expanded facility will help train people entering the high-demand and high-paying vocations of welding and heating, ventilation and air-conditioning and other similar occupations.
“Alabamians are eager to work, and we are eager for them to find jobs that will allow them to earn a good living,” Governor Ivey said. “These funds will help more Alabamians answer the call to the state’s increasing demand for jobs in these fields. I am thankful for our partnership with the Appalachian Regional Commission and the assistance they have provided in helping us respond to in-demand issues.”
The project will produce a competitive workforce of students and worker-trainees to supply several new or growing industries in the region with the labor required to help them thrive and succeed.
The grant was produced through ARC’s Partnerships for Opportunity and Workforce and Economic Revitalization (POWER) initiative which targets areas affected by the closing of coal mining and coal-related industries.
The Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs administers the ARC program in Alabama.
“This grant is a shot in the arm for an Alabama economy that has maintained its poise during the cessation of coal industries and then the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic,” ADECA Director Kenneth Boswell said. “ADECA is pleased to join with Gov. Ivey, ARC, Bevill State Community College and many other partners in this life-changing program.”
Dr. Chris Cox, Bevill State interim president, said the program will allow for scholarships for workers who lost jobs in coal-related industries.
“This rapid training center expansion will help establish a career pipeline to support local manufacturing industries, will serve to diversify the region’s economy and will increase post-secondary students’ access to advanced training and completion of industry-recognized certifications,” Dr. Cox said.
ARC is an economic development agency of the federal government and 13 state governments. The agency’s mission is to innovate, partner, and invest to build community capacity and strengthen economic growth in Appalachia to help the region achieve socioeconomic parity with the nation. Thirty-seven Alabama counties are part of the ARC region and eligible for funds.
ADECA manages a range of programs that support law enforcement, economic development, recreation, energy conservation and water resource management.