The newly created Alabama Construction Workforce Alliance (ACWA) – a collaboration with partners statewide – has been formed to support workforce development and job training initiatives to strengthen the construction industry.
ACWA is led by Alabama Associated General Contractors, the Alabama Roadbuilders Association, the Alabama Workforce Council, the Alabama Construction Research Institute and Auburn University. This partnership between state education and workforce agencies is designed to provide the right level of training for prospective employees and foster the credential and certification process for employment in the construction industry.
“Coming from the highway construction and roadbuilding business, I am well aware of the incredible need for highly skilled workers in this sector,” said Alabama Workforce Council Chairman Tim McCartney, formerly of McCartney Construction. “The collaboration that has already been established and future plans put forth by ACWA is exactly what we need in this moment. This aligns perfectly with Governor Ivey’s attainment goal of adding 500,000 credentialed workers to the workforce by 2025 and our overall workforce development credentialing pipeline efforts.”
By helping remove the barriers to entry to build the construction workforce talent pipeline, the ACWA aims to create a streamlined construction workforce to help grow the state.
“ACWA was developed as a response to concerns by the Alabama construction industry about the serious shortage of skilled labor and the need for improvements to the current construction workforce talent pipeline,” said Jorge Rueda, an assistant professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Auburn University who is leading ACWA implementation efforts. “The proposed alliance is based on the premise that greater benefits are obtained when workforce development initiatives are implemented as a combined, coordinated effort by government, industry and education entities. ACWA is poised to integrate recruitment, retention and training efforts into an overall strategic plan tearing down the traditional workforce development silos.”
ACWA members recently visited with the Academy of Craft Training and Riverchase Career Connection Center – two facilities providing cutting-edge training opportunities for students to help position them for future workforce needs in the construction industry and beyond.
Recently, ACWA was identified as one of the five third-party intermediaries for the $17.8 million Reimagine Workforce Preparation Grant awarded to assist workers displaced by COVID-19. The grant was applied for by the state of Alabama through the Alabama Workforce Council’s Public-Private Partnership (AWC-PPP) committee. Facilitated by the Alabama Power Foundation, the AWC-PPP committee works with nonprofits and businesses to bring federal grant dollars to the state through technical assistance. The committee also works to remove barriers to education and enhance workforce sectors.