New credential to boost workforce for State agriculture industry
By WVUA 23 Digital Reporter Kyle Hamrick
As Alabama’s multi-billion-dollar agricultural industry continues to need more maintenance technicians, a new partnership between educators and industry leaders could help.
The Alabama Community College System joined forces with the Alabama Forestry Association and Alabama Poultry & Egg Association to create a new agricultural training credential for high school students.
According to a press release, the credential certifies K-12 teachers to lay foundations for continued career technical education or after-graduation job opportunities for students in grades 9-12.
“Agriculture is an incredibly important industry to the state. We’re proud this professional development opportunity through our community colleges will help ensure that the instruction they provide in the classroom will continue to develop trained professionals that Alabama’s agriculture industry needs,” said ACCS Chancellor Jimmy Baker.
Maggie Pope, who serves as Director of Education for AFA’s Forest Workforce Training Institute, explained the state’s forestry industry could see a turnover of almost 50% due to retirement and age.
“We want to create a pipeline of qualified workers who can continue to create viable career paths for themselves, while also ensuring that agriculture educators have access to their community colleges for hands-on experience or more in-depth theory training for their students,” she said.
The initiative began late last month in Auburn and will be continued in more than 25 Alabama school districts and Wallace Community College in Dothan.