The Birmingham Section started 2015 with a political reception at the Murray Building Co. jobsite at the old Merita Bread Bakery. More than 150 members were in attendance with city and state officials. Everyone enjoyed a tour of the site as well as barbecue from Joe McNabb and Hendrix Chevrolet.

AGC’s Workforce Work Pays Off

The Alabama AGC’s Craft Training Bill has passed both houses of the legislature and awaits only the governor’s signature before becoming law.

“This law will be a game-changer for our industry in Alabama,” said Alabama AGC Chief Operating Officer Bill Caton. “It will -- for the first time in nearly 40 years – create a stable, statewide funding source for construction skills education. This is another big step in the Alabama AGC’s effort to build a skilled workforce for the construction industry in Alabama.”

"The Alabama AGC’s craft training initiative should create $3 million-$5 million annually for craft education by increasing the fee on building permits only $1 per $1,000 of project value," said Alabama AGC Chief Executive Officer Billy Norrell.

This law will create an industry board to oversee the money and provide grants for training providers throughout the state using existing community college facilities and other qualified trainers. Skills training will be made available to entry-level workers as well as current employees of contractors.

This skills education initiative came to fruition after a lot of hard work by Alabama AGC, its members, and friends to the construction industry.

“We want to thank everybody for their participation in a thoughtful process to create the legislation and for the hard work on the ground to shepherd the initiative through the legislative process,” Norrell said.

“The economic success and industrial growth our state has experienced over the last few years will not continue without an adequate, skilled workforce,” said Gary Savage, president of BL Harbert International’s U.S. Group. “Workers of Alabama have a tremendous work ethic; however, they need the opportunity and the training to develop the skills needed for employment."

“The Alabama AGC’s Craft Training Bill will provide a consistent funding source and the training necessary to reshape the future of Alabama’s workforce.  This is one of the most important workforce initiatives for our industry in recent memory and is truly an investment in the future of Alabama.” Secretary of Commerce Greg Canfield said at an Alabama AGC meeting recently that the Craft Training Initiative is extremely important to the state of Alabama.

“This is an important part of our strategy to see workforce development efforts undertaken in a strategic way so Alabama can have the right people with the right skills in place to grow our economy,” Canfield said.

 “Our initiative is a Public-Private Partnership recommended by business leaders statewide,” Caton said. “It is a solution by and for business. The Alabama AGC’s craft training initiative is a business-friendly, market-driven solution to the workforce problem. And it does not grow government.”

The bill was recommended to the governor by the Alabama Workforce Council on which Caton and Savage serve.