Robert Bentley submits state’s workforce plan to federal government

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On Friday, Gov. Robert Bentley released a statement announcing that the Governor’s Combined State Plan on workforce development and training opportunities has been submitted to the federal government. The plan defines the actions that will be taken to implement the 2015 Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) and is meant to serve as a guide for improving workforce development.

The plan was developed by the Alabama Workforce Development Board and was submitted to the governor earlier this week.

“I appreciate the hard work of the Alabama Workforce Development Board to develop a comprehensive plan to guide our state over the next four years,” Bentley said in a press release. “The workforce development plan shows that many state agencies are working together to create opportunities to grow Alabama’s workforce, to make sure job seekers have the skills needed to fill positions desired by employers, and that qualified Alabama citizens are filling those jobs.”

Monthly task force meetings between “representatives from the core and partner state agencies” began July 2015. The meetings were designed to “share agency resources, identify needs for new or improved services and programs, and to identify areas where duplicated or competing services can be eliminated.”

Action items in the plan were based on initiatives created by the Accelerate Alabama Strategic Economic Development Plan and those recommended by the Alabama Workforce Council. Bentley notes in the press release that the plan is “a product of collaboration, alignment of programs and efficient use of resources through the various partner programs.”

“The Alabama Workforce Development Board, which was appointed by Governor Robert Bentley, brings the state of Alabama closer to full alignment between business, industry, and education and bringing those sectors together with job seekers,” George Clark, chair of the AWD Board, said in the statement. “Alabama’s Workforce Investment Board is composed of representatives of the Alabama Workforce Council, the Regional Workforce Development Councils and key industry sectors, as outlined in the Accelerate Alabama plan. On behalf of the AWD Board of Directors, I would like to thank Governor Bentley for his continued leadership in workforce development and economic development in the state of Alabama.”

“The WIOA is a sweeping piece of legislation that will impact a significant portion of our population,” Fitzgerald Washington, Commissioner of the Alabama Department of Labor said. “The Alabama Career Center System is at the front line in providing the valuable services covered under the Act. These services will allow people to get additional vocational or educational training, earn degrees, and ultimately reach their goal of finding gainful employment. We are proud to present this plan which gives us the ability to work with all of these wonderful partners to help Alabamians’ dreams come true.”

The WIOA is designed to ensure that eligible citizens have the assistance necessary to become work ready through Adult Workforce programs, Dislocated Worker Programs, Youth Training Programs, Adult Education and Vocational Rehabilitation services. These programs are managed by the state through various departments and funded by Commerce WIOA funds.

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