The Division of Economic and Workforce Development at The University of West Alabama
August 2019
Workforce Development

CNA spotlight: Ewing embraces new career in healthcare

Annette Ewing
Annette Ewing, a UWA Adult Certified Nursing Assistant program graduate, is a Certified Nursing Assistant in the Telemetry unit at Rush Foundation Hospital in Meridian, Mississippi.  
Ewing's strong work ethic and compassion for her patients has led to a promotion in the hospital's specialty care unit.  

Ewing credits her instructor for her workplace success.  "Mrs. Shea (Etheridge) was an amazing instructor," said Ewing. "I learned a lot from both her lectures and hands-on instruction.  After passing the National Nurse Aide Examination, I was overjoyed to become a Certified Nursing Assistant.  It is an honor to work in this profession. I'm blessed to work with great people. I love what I do. Most of all, I love helping others."

Her life motto is to always remember that once you set your mind to it, you can do it.

The University of West Alabama's Division of Economic and Workforce Development received funding to host their WIOA Career Pathways for Youth Program for another year.  The program's request for funding was approved on May 2 at the Region 3 Quarterly Workforce Summit.  Funding was awarded to expand the program to include automotive technician training for the 2019-2020 program year.

Click images above to download program flyers.
Young adults between the ages of 16 to 24 that have a high school diploma or GED and are currently out of school are encouraged to apply for the 2019-2020 Program Year.

For more information on UWA's Certified Nursing Assistant program or the Certified Automotive Technician program, contact Jordan Mahaffey, WIOA Program Director, at (205) 652-3828 or email her at

Economic Development
Pellet company could create 85 jobs in Epes

Port of Epes

  Enviva Pellets Epes, LLC ("Enviva"), the largest wood pellet producer in the United States, is considering an investment of approximately $175 million in the Port of Epes Industrial Park for a new production facility and employ a minimum of 85 employees (estimated at more than $3.5 million in new payroll). The company's wood supply purchases are estimated at $30 million per year and will support the local and state's forestry industry. Enviva's large-scale wood pellet mill will produce approximately 600,000 metric tons per year of wood pellets for export to Europe and Asia as a fuel source.  At full production, the operation will process approximately 1.3 million tons per year of pulpwood, sawmill residues, and logging slash as raw material.  All finished product will be transported to the Gulf Coast Port of Pascagoula, Mississippi for storage and ship loading.  

The Project could provide such benefits as creating and retaining forestry-related industry jobs; making improvements to industrial infrastructure; support local, regional, and state industrial development goals/plans; increasing the City of Livingston and Sumter County's revenue that can be reinvested in other economic and community development projects; and enhancing the industrial park's appeal to future prospects.

For more information, contact UWA Director of Economic Development Allison Brantley at or call (205) 652-3618.

Alabama prepares for the "Alabama Counts" 2020 Census

Why does the 2020 Census matter to Alabama?
Alabama has much at stake with the 2020 Census. Due to our state's slowed population growth, we are in danger of losing at least one of our seven congressional seats, as well as federal funding that benefits our families, children, and communities. According to the George Washington Institute of Public Policy, Alabama currently receives $1,567 per capita through census-guided programs - this funding affects everyone. Fortunately, by participating in the 2020 Census we can protect our most valuable resources, including hospitals, police and fire departments, schools, and roads and bridges.
The census is essential, which is why we must take matters into our own hands - together, we can control Alabama's future. In 2010, 72 percent of Alabamians completed the census. This will not be enough in 2020, which is why we must ensure our 2020 Census count is complete, accurate, and fair.

Click here for an information flyer.

Visit the official Alabama Counts Census 
website at

To apply for a job with the US Census, click here.

Community Outreach
Mast is featured panelist for APTV's Archaeology Adventures

UWA's Black Belt Museum Pubic Historian Brian Mast was the featured panelist for Alabama Public Television' free summer online program, Learning Adventures. Mast participated in the July 31 learning session, "Archaeology Adventures: Early Alabama History ," where participants watch a video together, send in questions and comments in real time, and participate in polls. This is a great interactive resource for summer day camps, homeschoolers, and parents/students looking for educational activities over the summer.
"Archaeology Adventures: Early Alabama History" focuses on Alabama pre-history and history through the lens of archaeology. Students observe archaeologists on excavations, interview historians and visit historic sites-such as Moundville, The Poarch Band of Creek Indians Archives, Old Mobile and Old Cahawba archaeological sites-as they learn about Native American societies, early settlers, and early Alabama statehood.
Mast as an 18th-century French Marine
Mast started his professional career in history at Fort Necessity National Battlefield in western Pennsylvania, where he had the opportunity to combine his passion for history with education. Mast has been the Public Historian/Educator for the Black Belt Museum at The University of West Alabama. During his tenure, he has not only expanded the educational programs but has begun working on a study of how museum programs affect student performance in the classroom. 
For more information on the Black Belt Museum's Living History Programs, contact Brian Mast at 
call (205) 652-5528.

For more information on APTV's Learning Adventures field trip series, click here.

Black Belt Museum to host
Making Alabama Bicentennial traveling exhibit Sept. 13-Oct. 18

Making Alabama, A Bicentennial Traveling Exhibit
 is a statewide celebration of 200 years of statehood presented by Alabama Humanities Foundation in partnership with Alabama Department of Archives and History and Alabama Bicentennial Commission.

The University of West Alabama's Division of Economic and Workforce Development's Black Belt Museum will host the exhibit Sept. 13-Oct. 18, 2019. The Museum is located in downtown Livingston on the Sumter County Courthouse Square.

There is no charge for this exhibit. Hours for the exhibit will be announced soon.
For more information, contact Black Belt Museum Director James Lamb at call (205) 652-3725.

Click here for exhibit information.

Market and a Movie set for 
Sept. 6 in Livingston

Join Livingston Alive's "Market and a Movie" event on Friday, September 6 at 200 Monroe Street. The Market booths will run from 6-8 p.m. and are followed by a family friendly movie. Bring the entire family out for a great evening in downtown Livingston.

Follow us on  
facebook at

Center for the Study of the Black Belt
Black Belt Garden
Black Belt Archives
DEWD Partners
Alabama Black Belt Heritage Area
Alabama's Black Belt:
Where the Culture is as Rich as the Land. The Alabama Black Belt Heritage Area comprises 19 counties in central and western Alabama that are working together to attain designation as a National Heritage Area.
Visit them on Facebook here .
Mark Your Calendar

 UWA Certified Nursing Assistant 
program and Certified
 Automotive Technician program now 

Click here to 
download  flyer.

ACT Work Ready Communities Report
Sumter County is a certified Work Ready Community with 93% of county goals completed. A complete report description is available at the link below. 

Click here to view the 
 ACT Work Ready Communities report.

ACT Workkeys 
ACT Workkeys Assessment Testing takes place every Friday. Upcoming dates are August 9, 16, 23 and 30.  For more information, contact Director of Econ omic Developmen t Allison Brantley to register at  abrantley@uw   or call 205-652-3 618.

Alabama Bicentennial Updates

Stay up to date on statewide educational news, discover diverse resources for teachers and administrators, and be featured as a 
Spotlight School by actively participating in the Alabama bicentennial celebration.

For more information, 
click here.

UWA Division of Economic and Workforce Development |