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From L to R: Gary Warren, Senator Roger Bedford, Grady Batchelor

From L to R: Gary Warren, Senator Roger Bedford, Grady Batchelor

Mayors, Council Members, County Commissioners, Educators, and Economic Developers gathered in Guin, Alabama today to share with Senator Roger Bedford and Representative Mike Millican areas the group identified as key regional workforce development initiatives. 

Mayor Phil Seagraves of Guin welcomed the group to Guin and the Guin High School then turned the meeting over to David Logan of Alabama Power Company.  Mr. Logan shared with the group concerning the ongoing effort to identify key initiatives in workforce development and the importance of doing such for the area.  Logan then asked Grady Batchelor to share with the group the priorities for the region.

Grady Batchelor, Chairman of the Region 1 Workforce Development  Council, shared with the group the priorities for the region identified at an earlier meeting of regional Mayors, Council Members, County Commissioners, Educators, and Economic Developers which was held in Hamilton on February 16, 2009.  The priorities were as follows:

1.       There is an urgent need to address the dropout rates in our region.
 
¬†2.¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† We need to work together regionally toward a common purpose regarding workforce and economic development. Batchelor shared, “The economic developers and community colleges have already begun to work together on some priority workforce initiatives, recruiting, marketing and promotions.”¬† The economic developers have a joint website located at¬†www.Interstate22Alliance.com.¬†

3.       We need to educate regional constituents, career counselors, educators, school administrators, and legislators on the importance and impact of career/technical education on workforce and economic development and the long term sustainability of our region.

– We need to identify career choices earlier (e.g., seventh and eighth grade)
– We need to retain career/technical education in our schools
– We need more career awareness
– We need more counselors
РWe need counselors that understand the role of career  and technical education in our region

4.       We need funds for a grant writer to go after workforce and economic dollars.
 
5.       We need to hold an industry/education day.

Gary Warren, Member of the Alabama State¬†Board of Education, shared the importance of dual enrollment to the area and the need to keep the program funded.¬† Warren also shared his concerns and the need to keep vocational and technical school programs funded.¬†¬†Warren shared the funds to support the high academic achievers and special needs children will be made available, but maintaining vocational and technical programs will require effort and commitment to funding such programs. Warren shared not all children are going to college and we need to provide vocational and technical programs to train tomorrow’s workforce.¬†

Senator Roger Bedford shared how the funding cash flow works in the state and how the economy impacts the flow of funds.  Senator Bedford noted to change the funds available we either increase the funding sources or we must develop a better delivery process such as distance learning or other methods.

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