Lt. Gov. Will Ainsworth talked about the importance of community colleges in building Alabama’s workforce at Wallace Community College’s Dothan campus Wednesday.
“Community colleges are going to play the biggest role in developing the work talent for basically the future, so we wanted to come here to Wallace,” he said.
The biggest problem limiting growth in industries is a lack of people.
“I think community college is going to solve that issue of people,” Ains-worth said. “Community colleges do a good job of making sure the needs of the community are met by students getting cranked out with a skill set that is going to get them directly placed in a job.”
Coming up in the next legislative session in February, Ainsworth said, Gov. Kay Ivey’s office will advocate for adequate funding for workforce development.
Issues Ainsworth said the state wants to get ahead of include keeping people from leaving Alabama to pursue jobs; securing funding for capital improvements for education facilities; and getting instructors to teach career technical courses.
Ainsworth said his office is working with a company to develop an app to connect high school students with career-technical and dual-enrollment courses in their area and to get them thinking earlier about their careers. The app, which hasn’t been named, will launch later this year.
“We talk a lot about doing things. We talk about change, and then maybe, we never pull the Band-Aid off and look at what the real problem is,” said Jimmy Baker, Alabama Community College System chancellor. “(Ainsworth) has been doing that. He’s been doing his homework diligently, and he’s been analyzing and studying what it is that we can do to move the community college system along the path of doing an increasingly better job in more areas dealing with workforce and skills training and improve this state by doing so.”
Ainsworth toured the new Heersink Health and Science Building after his reception.