Southwest Alabama Workforce 
Development Council
Region 9 News

January 2015
Happy New Year!

Our office will close at noon today and will re-open on Friday, January 2nd.  
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Region 9 
Community College
FY2015 Round II Grant Applications

Click Here For
Submission Details and Deadlines

Due to SAWDC
January 6, 2015
close of business

Grants Review
January 12, 2015
1:00 p.m. at SAWDC

Due to GOWD
February 4, 2015
close of business

Board of Directors

Sandra Koblas
 Austal USA
Vice Chairman
Lee Lawson
Baldwin County Economic Development Alliance
Bill Hafner
VT Mobile Aerospace Engineering

Ketrenia Crenshaw
Boise Paper
Legal Counsel
David Hannan
Maynard Cooper & Gale

Sam Covert
Alabama Power
Carolyn Akers
Mobile Area
Education Foundation

Chris Comstock
Bob Higgins
Higgins & Associates

John Johnson
Coastal Gateway
Tim Johnson
Central Gulf
Industrial Alliance

Loka Mistretta
Cintas Corporation

Jennifer Ogle

Steve Perry
Community Leader

Janice Rehm
USA Children's & Women's

Randy Rogers
Evonik Industries

Lesleigh Smith
Performance Contractors

George Vann

Troy Wayman
Mobile Area
Chamber of Commerce
Cheryl Williams
Spherion Staffing
Laura Chandler
Executive Director
nfws logo
National Fund for Workforce Solutions Awards $165,000 Social Innovation Fund Grant to
Southwest Alabama Workforce Development Council

Fred Dedrick, executive director of the National Fund for Workforce Solutions, a national partnership of communities, employers, workers, and philanthropy, announced the awarding of a new $165,000 Social Innovation Fund (SIF) grant to Southwest Alabama Workforce Development Council (SAWDC).

SAWDC, along with more than a dozen other National Fund collaboratives, was awarded these funds based on program criteria including high performance levels, demonstrated commitment to the National Fund's demand-driven model, and the ability to meet matching fund requirements.

Click here to read the full press release.

2014 Year End
Industry Survey

Each year, SAWDC conducts a comprehensive industry survey, which allows us, in part, to ensure that strategic objectives are aligned with industry needs and measures are in place to demonstrate progress against organizational goals. 

This year, over thirty employers representing 24,000 employees responded to the 2014 Year End Industry Survey.   Employers reported a need for close to 4,500 skilled workers over the next 12 months - an 18.6% growth. Although employers indicated a slight improvement in the quality, stability, and availability of the workforce, the percentage of qualified candidates for entry level positions remained low (21.5% or approximately one in five applicants).  

Over 80% of the employers who responded confirmed having recruitment problems with one-third noting that unfilled positions were increasing.  When asked if the recruitment problems were limited to the community or the industry, employers were evenly split.  As a result, close to 60% of the employers had increased their investments in training.  

SAWDC Awarded $150,000 Grant 

The new award, which will be utilized to conduct A Multi-Layered Analysis of Current and Projected Education and Workforce Development Needs for Untapped Key Workforce Populations of the Rural Counties of Region 9, comes as part of a $1.7 million workforce development initiative - Re-imagining the Delta Workforce. The program began in Summer 2014 to help identify opportunities and implement strategies for enhancing regional and local workforce development systems throughout the DRA footprint.

The Delta Regional Authority's Alabama footprint and the SAWDC footprint share six counties. Those six rural counties - Washington, Choctaw, Clarke, Conecuh, Monroe, and Escambia - are the subject of the research and planning activities. Key partners in the accomplishment of this work include Jobs for the Future, a nationally recognized leader in the design of innovative and scalable education and career training models and systems and the development of federal and state policies needed to support these solutions, and Coastal Gateway Economic Development Alliance, whose primary mission is to market and promote the assets of Choctaw, Clarke, Conecuh, Escambia and Monroe counties and to support the retention and expansion of existing industry.  Click here to read the full press release. 

The Mobile County Public School System Presents

In June 2015, the Mobile County Public School System (MCPSS) will host the first annual JROTC STEM Leadership Academy, a residential academy, to engage a unique population of high school students in STEM content, skills, and fields of study.  The STEM Academy will give 120 Cadets the opportunity to see STEM content and technology in action as they interact with scientists and engineers designing and innovating solutions to area industry and community problems. Cadets will observe first-hand the broad range of STEM-dependent jobs and participate as part of a Cadet-team to create, test, and improve their own solutions to a STEM-focused engineering design challenge. The Academy will help groom these already successful JROTC Cadets into future employees and contributors to the regional STEM workforce.

Don't miss this opportunity to Sponsor a Cadet at $800 per Cadet or Be an Academy Friend by making a tax deductible contribution to MCPSS or the Mobile Area Chamber of Commerce Foundation, Inc. Examples of recognition may include logos posted on the event website, banners, and promotional materials.

Click here for more information or contact LTC Frank Barrow directly at (251)221-5100.  Don't miss this opportunity to invest in our future workforce!

SAWDC Highlights Workforce Development Efforts Serving Ex-Offenders at the 
December Quarterly Council Meeting

With over sixty in attendance, SAWDC held its quarterly council meeting at Jefferson Davis Community College on December 10, 2014. Interim President, Camille Cochran, kicked off the meeting followed by presentations from Dr. Catherine Packer-Williams and Al Bennett, who highlighted the college's long time partnership with Fountain Correctional Facility.  U.S. Attorney Kenyen Brown, who spearheaded the initiative, Project H.O.P.E., in an effort to help ex-offenders successfully re-enter society by addressing needs such as employment, as well as Dave Martinie with Life Tech, Krys King with Ingram State Technical College and US Probation Officer, Chip Dooley, rounded out the program, which focused on high quality correctional career and technical education programs with proven effectiveness in reducing the recidivism rate.  If you are interested in obtaining more information, contact Darwin Bolden at (251)445-2090 or email  

      Dr. Catherine Packer-Williams,                                    Kenyen Brown
    Jefferson Davis Community College                                 U.S. Attorney
SAWDC's Vision is to develop a comprehensive, integrated workforce development system which creates a skilled, diverse, motivated, adaptable workforce that better meets the needs of employers and leads to a better quality of life for our citizens.
SAWDC's Mission is to develop strategic partnerships which attract, educate and train students and workers to better meet employer needs and foster economic growth in a global marketplace.
For more information on how you can become involved with the efforts of the Southwest Alabama Workforce Development Council and Region 9, please call 251-445-2090.