Big Workforce Goals Remain, Mindful of Crisis Setbacks

Alabama Workforce Council Chairman Tim McCartney

The future of work has accelerated 10 years in three months.

That’s one main conclusion in an editorial by Alabama Workforce Council Chairman Tim McCartney, writing about COVID-19 and the state’s workforce goals in coming years.

Even before the pandemic, Alabama leaders were worried about the state’s ability to deliver enough skilled workers to meet the expanding needs of industry. Gov. Kay Ivey had set an attainment goal of adding 500,000 highly skilled workers to Alabama’s workforce by 2025.

Now tactical goals, McCartney says, have shifted from filling positions in a tight labor market, as seen in February, to training dislocated workers and dealing with a historic wave of unemployment.

Despite all that, the AWC and AlabamaWorks remain committed to the governor’s 2025 attainment goal.

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For those who have become unemployed or underemployed owing to COVID-19, reskilling or upskilling now can lead to sustainable in-demand career pathways that produce measurable benefits in the future.

The state has also established a quality-assurance process for credentials through the Alabama Committee on Credentialing and Career Pathways. The committee is tasked with identifying in-demand occupations in Alabama, developing competency models and career pathways for each of the in-demand occupations, and identifying related credentials of value associated with each of the in-demand occupations.

One June 8 the Alabama Workforce Council will also launch the Governor’s Survey of Employer Competencies, which will survey employers in each sector and region of the state to assist the ACCCP with identifying these in-demand occupations and related job requirements.

The survey will be conducted between June 8 and June 15, 2020 and, going forward, will be conducted annually to assist the ACCCP’s 16 Technical Advisory Committees (TACs) with their work of linking credentials of value to one or more specific competencies needed for a job.

The plan is to allow employers to create competency-based job descriptions that list the specific skills required for a job, rather than using associate or bachelor’s degrees as placeholders. Therefore, it is vital that employers of all sizes, and from each industry sector, provide responses to the survey. Results of the Governor’s Survey of Employer Competencies will be reviewed at a June 17 ACCCP meeting.

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