AlabamaWorks director speaks at Hoover Chamber luncheon

HOOVER – Antiqua Cleggett talked to the Hoover Area Chamber of Commerce on Thursday, Aug. 15, about the importance of workforce development and how her organization, Central Six AlabamaWorks, is working to make strides in that area.

Cleggett, executive director, said Central Six AlabamaWorks is “results-driven and boots on the ground for industry.”

For example, industry leaders could communicate to Central Six AlabamaWorks about a need for certain kind of welders, and the organization would take that information to its partners who are training providers.

Educators can then adjust their curriculum to better provide the technical and soft skills that are needed in the workforce.

Central Six AlabamaWorks also advocates for policy and systems changes at the state and national levels, Cleggett said, and helps educate students about needs in the workforce.

“We really work hard to make sure our students are aware of all the opportunities that are afforded to them,” she said.

Central Six AlabamaWorks partners with schools and employers to offer apprenticeship in the areas of information technology and manufacturing.

A “signing day” for four information technology apprenticeships was held on Wednesday, Aug. 14, and another event for 13 manufacturing apprentices was held on the same day as the luncheon, also in Hoover.

The apprentices are treated like employees, from being provided benefits to being given time off to attend classes.

“We have really put a lot of blood, sweat and tears into this, and it’s really starting to take off,” Cleggett said and added that apprenticeships in other industries could be offered in the coming year.

Central Six AlabamaWorks workforce programs represent outreach to K-12 schools and include job fairs and career coach days.

Other efforts include Power Up–It’s a Mother-Daughter Thing!, Worlds of Work at Skills USA, and the Educators’ Workforce Academy.

All the programs are part of an effort to help the region and the state at large meet the needs of industries and students—and to meet Gov. Kay Ivey’s ambitious plan to add 500,000 highly-skilled employees to the state’s workforce by 2025.