West Alabama Works training educators on what employers need

West Alabama Works Educator Workforce Session

By WVUA 23 News Reporter Michaela Redmond

West Alabama Works is ensuring local educators understand what the area’s employers are looking for when they hire new employees so student training can better match employers’ expectations.

The first session happened Nov. 15 and included area principals, superintendents and other key education leaders around West Alabama.

Educators toured the SMP and Lear manufacturing plants before visiting the Brookwood Career Technical Annex.

West Alabama Works Executive Director Donny Jones said basic skills need to be taught at all levels of education.

“All of those basic skills are needed all the way into our elementary schools and that’s why we have elementary school principals, middle school principals and high school principals here with us today,” said Jones. “They can understand what is needed and what the basic key ingredients are to have a successful career.”

Stars Academy Principal Don Monique Morgan said teaching students valuable skills is necessary.

“One of the big soft skills is being a communicator and practicing those soft skills like showing up on time, making sure that you stay at the job place all day,” said Morgan.

The West Alabama Works Modern Manufacturing Program has more than 340 students enrolled, and they’re planning on expanding it to 800 students a year.

Mercedes-Benz U.S. International donated five vehicles to the program and will donate two more after each school launches its program.

“It’s absolutely paramount that students understand that college is not the only way that you can make a successful living for you and you’re family,” said Morgan. “We saw a lot of jobs today that pay way more than some of the starting salaries for college graduates.”

Over the next 18 months, more than 3,000 jobs will be opening up in the automotive industry in West Alabama, allowing these students to move into high-paying jobs after high school, Jones said.

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