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.

Skills training for Alabama workers gets $1.1 million in funding

Craft Training Act Dispersing $1.1 Million in its First Round of Grants to Fund Skills Training in Alabama

Birmingham, Ala.  – Less than two years after the Alabama AGC wrote and passed the Craft Training Act, the Craft Training Board has announced its approval of $1.1 million in grants that will be disbursed this fall to various craft education programs, schools, colleges and companies.

The board received 35 applications for the first round of grants and voted to fund 25 of those. The grants rewarded represent all seven of the Alabama Workforce Council’s workforce regions across the state.

This first round of grants will reach more than 500 students in multiple trades that will include new recruits to the industry as well as incumbent workers who now have the opportunity to advance their skills.

These grant approvals mean that in its first year of funding, the Alabama AGC’s Craft Training Act will help close the skills gap by reaching a vast majority of individuals who would not have otherwise had the opportunity to learn a trade. Because of the pressing industry-wide need for skilled laborers, the Craft Training Act expects to see steady growth year over year, giving the non-residential construction industry in Alabama the chance to have a strong and growing force of skilled tradespeople.

About the Craft Training Act:

·       It collects one dollar per $1,000 of project value on the general construction building permit on public works

·       When collections are operating at full capacity throughout the state, the Act should generate approximately $5 million for skills or craft training on an annual basis

·       It was born out of necessity to combat the skilled worker shortage, which is a looming national crisis with statistics that show that only one tradesman is entering the industry for every four who leave

David Hare, chairman of the Craft Training Board, said the training programs designated for funding have seen a lot of community support. “The grants are flexible and some funds can be used to set up classes and buy equipment. But to get the most out of the funding, the Board expects at least 10 students to be in each class with the optimum to be 25 students,” said Hare.

“I had the great pleasure of being involved from the beginning in the process of writing and passing the Craft Training Act and I am proud of the great work done by our contractors and industry from beginning to end,” said Bill Caton, COO of Alabama AGC. “The Craft Training Board and Katherine Lynn, the program administrator, have done an outstanding job with only the best at heart for our industry. These people have taken a vision for a stronger workforce and done the extremely difficult work of making it a reality,” Caton said. “They deserve our thanks and support for a job well done.”

Craft Training Act board members are:

David Hare, chairman, retired from Harbert; Bruce Taylor, Marathon Electrical; Al Stanley, Stanley Construction; Chris Swain, Monumental Construction; Jonathan Watts, Selective Masonry; John Garrison, Garrison Steel Erectors (who served as first chairman and has now retired from the Board); and Jerry Grissom, the Southern Company.