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Southeast AlabamaWorks brings workforce aid to Pike County

Alabama Works, a workforce development program created November 2016 is up and running and its leaders are seeking to serve the citizens of Pike County.

The program is divided into seven regions. Pike County is in the 10-county region covered by Southeast Alabama Works.

Ryan Richards, director of workforce development for the region, described the program as a way to connect the many existing business organizations around the state

“We give you a seat at the table with the state workforce team,” Richards said. “We want to get challenges and feedback from you and take that back to get solutions.

“There are already so many organizations out there doing a good job, they just need communication,” Richards said. “We are that piece between entities. If someone has an issue, we’ve got the team to provide a solution.”

Richards described the program’s structure as an hourglass with the many business-oriented agencies across the state using Alabama Works as a means of communication to individual businesses and industries and vice versa.

Richards said the organization looks at solutions in three categories: long-term, mid-range and short-term.

Short-term solutions, he said, primarily come through the Alabama Career Center. “That’s the immediate impact,” Richards said.

For a medium-range impact, Richards said the organization has built connections with Enterprise State, Lurleen B. Wallace and Wallace community colleges to connect grads with employers.

Richards said program also seeks feedbacks from business to provide suggestions to colleges to tailor skills training to companies’ needs.

For long-range impact, Richards said career coaches are being placed directly in high schools to help students begin thinking about a career path.

“If we see a large need, we can ramp up programs that focus on that,” Richards said. “And then those kids coming out of high school can go into the community colleges and get additional training.”

Another thing the organization is addressing are “industry clusters” such as trucking. “We want to get a group of similar companies in the same room at the same time to discuss challenges because if one company has it, you can bet another out there has the same challenge,” Richards said.

The program organizers will hold a meeting at 10 a.m. Wednesday, July 12, at Wallace Community College for the region’s trucking companies. The meeting will be in  Rane Hall Wheeless Auditorium.

One of the major ways the organization can bring potential employees and employers or businesses and training services together is through the website.

Whether it’s a student discovering a career they’re interested in, a job-seeker looking for opportunities, a former trucker who wants to get off the road and do welding or a welder who wants to see the country via trucking, the website can connect the right people together to make it happen. “We want employers, job-seekers and students to be able to get what you need in three clicks or less,” Richards said.

The website is www.southeastalabamaworks.com. To contact Richards, email rrichards@southeastalabamaworks.com or call 334-792-5138.