Mike Lowry, director of marketing at Elk River, Inc., takes his turn practicing on the Wallace State virtual welder as instructor Nolan Dooley, right, looks on.
HANCEVILLE – Wallace State Community College welcomed Barry May, the Executive Director of Workforce and Economic Development for the Alabama Community College System, to campus on Thursday morning during the Cullman Area Chamber of Commerce’s Biscuits and Business outing.
May discussed the manufacturing jobs and opportunities available in Alabama and the prospective outlook for the industry, on the heels of last week’s announcement of the Alabama Community College System (ACCS) partnering with the Manufacturing Skills Standard Council (MSCC) for exclusive manufacturing short-term training for students.
Wallace State is already offering this training to students and is primed to begin classes for the public this fall. Beginning Tuesday, Oct. 24, Wallace State will offer logistics training on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 5 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. as a non-credit workforce development program. The training is a three-week course, and students completing the course will earn a Certified Logistics Associate (CLA) and a Certified Logistics Technician (CLT) certification.
Wallace State is offering free training to the first 30 students who enroll in the new program. Otherwise, the fee is $149 (including textbook and the certification exam). Contact 256-352-7826 to register.
“The certified technician certification is going to be a hit in the area because there are so many transportation companies in our service area. These industries need employees with these certifications,” said Jimmy Hodges, Wallace State’s dean of Applied Technologies. “It’s another avenue for us to offer what are already excellent existing programs. These entry-level skill jobs can help people find jobs. It’s important to get them into the workforce.”
During the Chamber event, May presented how important the manufacturing industry is to Alabama, notifying the average manufacturing worker earned wages at an average of $81,289 in 2015. On the other hand, six out of 10 manufacturing jobs in the state go unfilled because of a talent and skill shortage.
With the manufacturing credentials on the horizon, it will now allow completes to enter the workforce at a better pay scale than someone without the proper training.
May added the ACCS has also established a new website, https://dreamitdoitalabama.com/, in conjunction with the new manufacturing initiative across the state.
“The benefits are tremendous and the opportunities are endless for those with credentials,” May said. “I’m extremely excited. These manufacturing credentials can better the citizens of Alabama.”
Hodges and Wallace State President Dr. Vicki Karolewics also addressed the crowd made up of local industry leaders and Wallace State employees. Karolewics noted that Wallace State is in the process of hiring a new Workforce Development Director and redesigning the Career Services Department to better develop applicant pools for area businesses and industry.
Those in attendance had the opportunity to get a preview of the virtual welder device used in Wallace State’s welding department and the robots used in the mechatronics/electronics technology program.
“We are honored to host this event with the Cullman Chamber of Commerce and thankful Mr. May had time in his schedule to come and be a part of our community. Manufacturing in Alabama is being put at the forefront of the news, and it’s because Alabama is successful in attracting industries. In order to do that, we have to have certified and trained workforce,” Hodges said.
For more information about Wallace State, visitwww.wallacestate.edu.