Reprinted with permission by This Is Alabama


Workforce development serves as a mechanism for change in Alabama. It empowers participants and enables individual economic development. Our state is on the cusp of a new age as industry and higher education institutions partner resources and talent to train the next generation. Concepts like Internet of Things (IIoT), mechatronics and programmable logic controls are now the training standard. Recent investments by companies like Topre America Corporation, Yorozu and Evonik Corporation fuel our need for advanced knowledge and skills. Their investments offer confidence in Alabama’s workforce today and tomorrow.

I currently serve as Director of Workforce Training Solutions at Wallace State Community College, a member of the Alabama Community College System, with campuses in Hanceville and Oneonta. Consistently ranked among the Top 3 institutions for workforce development in the South, our college is uniquely poised to meet the current and future workforce demands of Alabama. We strive to work with regional business partners to offer short-term, for-credit and specialized training to expand knowledge and grow skills. Leveraging resources and relationships with industry, Wallace State enables a better-trained workforce and a better economy for Alabama.

Change and opportunity are often accompanied by uncertainty and obstacles. Generational differences in training styles, declining interest in labor-intensive careers and extremely low unemployment are a few of the most important obstacles for workforce training. To mitigate obstacles, we must think creatively, utilize technology and seek innovative in training strategies. These efforts will enable a broader reach to Alabamians who are underemployed or unemployed. An excellent opportunity is before us, and in keeping with our tradition of excellence, partnership, and innovation, Alabama will continue offering opportunities for individual and corporate success.

Austin T. Monk is the director of Workforce Training Solutions at Wallace State Community College.