The Division of Economic and Workforce Development at The University of West Alabama
December 2019
Economic Development
Sumter County Bicentennial 
audio  tour launched
An audio tour sign example.

The Sumter County Bicentennial Audio Tour, a self-guided tour of historic sites throughout the county, was unveiled on Friday, D ec. 6 at 10 a.m. at the Black Belt Museum in downtown Livingston. The tour was developed with a tourism grant provided by the Alabama Black Belt Heritage Area, and Alabama Bicentennial Community Grants to the Sumter County Commission, and the municipalities of Gainesville, Livingston, and York. Each site features a short oral history recorded by local citizens.

"This is an exciting project for not only our local citizens, but also for visitors, directly traveling in our community or online. All can now experience the interesting history and sites of Sumter County," said Division of Economic and Workforce Development Public Relations Specialist Gena Robbins. "The importance of tourism as an economic development element is also a key component of this project."

The tour is accessible three ways through the OnCell Alabama Black Belt Heritage Area Tour.

By Phone: Use your cell phone to explore the site by dialing (334) 450-0130. Listen for a prompt and press the 3-digit site number.
By Website: Visit and enter the 3-digit site number in the bottom left keypad.
By QR Code: A QR Code Reader App is required on a cell phone. Scan the QR Code on the bottom right of the site panel.

A list of tour sites are identified on the reception program (click here to view). New locations will be added to the tour in the future.

For more information, please contact Gena Robbins at or call (205) 652-5545.

Click here for audio tour location site list.

Sumter Renaissance Plan Update
UWA students present 
Livingston/York Alabama Rural Broadband Strategies project results
The Livingston/York Alabama Rural Broadband Strategies project student presentation was held Monday, Dec. 9, in Young Hall Cafeteria on the University of West Alabama campus. Pictured above, UWA students working with the project hosted federal, state and local partners for a presentation of findings concerning broadband needs, accessibility, and strategies for the cities of Livingston and York. The  Livingston/York Alabama Rural Broadband Strategies project developed as an extension of the Sumter Renaissance plan and the  Healthy Places for Healthy People grant incentive through EPA . 
Workforce Development
Alabama Summit on Rural Workforce Development addressed statewide needs
Attending the Alabama Summit on Rural Workforce from l-r,  WIOA Asst. Case Manager Lathia Adams, WIOA Program Director Jordan Mahaffey, CNA Instructor Shea Etheridge, and Automotive Instructor Curtis Jones.

The University of West Alabama joined with Alabama Power Company and the Alabama Commission on Higher Education to present the Alabama Summit on Rural Workforce Development, Nov. 1 at the Bell Conference Center on the UWA campus in Livingston. The event featured a broad slate of experts who brought a unique perspective to address rural Alabama's need for building a workforce pipeline and economic development system. 

The expertise presented at the Alabama Summit on Rural Workforce Development was a tremendous step forward of shared knowledge in economic development, education, and overall quality of life for rural Alabamians.  For more information, contact Dr. Tina Jones at

Be sure to save the date, April 17, 2020, for the Rural Entrepreneurial  Summit.

For event pictures, click here.
Graduates from UWA Certified Nursing Assistant Program targeted to fill healthcare shortage in Alabama
CNA students who participated in the graduation ceremony from l-r are  top row: Cerina James, Jada Little, and La'Deja Shields; b ottom row: Ti'Eisha Hubbard, Leonna Moss, Katrina Jones, and MiKeyra Westbrook.

The University of West Alabama's (UWA) WIOA Career Pathways for Youth: Certified Nursing Assistant Program held its graduation on Oct. 30 at the UWA campus in Livingston. UWA's Division of Economic and Workforce Development (DEWD) administers the program in partnership with the UWA Division of Nursing and the Region 3 Workforce Development Council.
This class earned several achievements. All five graduates obtained their National Career Readiness Certificate while at UWA, and each earned their CPR certification. In addition, all students met with DCH (Tuscaloosa) and Woodhaven Manor (Demopolis). The students received training in essential job skills, such as communication and financial literacy. Several participants have already entered employment since completing the program. Participants in the program span Greene, Marengo, and Sumter counties. 
"There is a demand for qualified CNAs in our region and the state of Alabama," said Dr. Tina Jones, Vice President of UWA's Division of Economic and Workforce Development. "We are fortunate to be able to collaborate with UWA's Division of Nursing with this program. Their facilities, combined with quality teaching, provide our participants with a great opportunity to receive hands-on instruction in a real-world environment." 
The Youth CNA Program is funded 100% with Federal Funds made available to the State of Alabama Department of Commerce by the U. S. Department of Labor/Employment and Training Administration as the Grantor. 
Interested individuals may pick up an application at the Division of Economic and Workforce Development office located at the University of West Alabama, Kelly Land Hall. To inquire by phone, call Jordan Mahaffey, Program Director, at (205) 652-3828 or email her at

Click here for a WIOA program information flyer.
Community Outreach
UWA's Moore offers glimpse of Alabama's past

UWA's Monica Moore, right, gives a living history presentation to Alabama Frontier Days attendees at Fort Toulouse.

In the fall, living historian Monica Newman Moore helped adults and children travel to 18th century Alabama with living history programs throughout the state.

Moore demonstrated and educated fourth graders alongside other students, teachers and family members at the Moundville Native American Festival. The event had over 8650 visitors to the park. As many of the visitors walked through a path in the woods several living historians we in camps tucked away and showcased lifeways of the Native Americans in the 18th Century. 
Next, several living historians and artist from Moundville drove north to share their skills with 225 Madison County Indian Education students for their one-day festival. Luckily, the weather held and it didn't start raining until the students loaded on the buses heading back to school. Then the week ended with several days of in Demopolis, Alabama at the Gaineswood mansion. The 275 students moved though stations around the ground where Moore demonstrated Native American life-skills in making cordage, twined bags and deer-toe shakers.
The Bartram Trail Conference was held in Montgomery at the Alabama Department of Archives and History.  The symposium featured leading scholars on William Bartram, the naturalist, including his tour of the Creek towns in the 1770s, his travel through the present state of Alabama, and his botanical and zoological observations. As part of the ADAH museum tours Moore wowed the 75 participants with tales of valuable skills needed to survive when hunting and fishing, and the construction of storage containers and musical instruments.  
To end the year's events, Fort Toulouse/Fort Jackson in Wetumpka held their annual Alabama Frontier Days.  Moore stood on the high banks of the Coosa River and demonstrated how to make the shoes of the Native Creeks that had lived in and around the forts. While pairs of center seam pucker-toe moccasins were created visitors saw how to measure, cut and sew a piece of leather into a shoe. 

Many asked if the moccasins were comfortable? Moore replied, "It is like walking in thick socks."

For additional information, contact Monica Moore at or call (205) 652-3828.

Black Belt Museum hosts  Speed Networking

Speed Networking participants discuss collaboration opportunities at the Black Belt Museum.

 The University of West Alabama's Office of Sponsored Programs and Research held a "Speed Networking" event in November at the Black Belt Museum. The event brought together UWA faculty and staff and community organizations to facilitate collaboration in a relaxed, social setting. Participants shared and discussed ideas, interests and experiences.

For more information, contact Carmen Giles at or call (205) 652-3424.

Black Belt Bounty coffee table book available just in time for the holiday
Traditions, Tales, and Tables   Celebrating the Black Belt's Hunting and Fishing Heritage

Black Belt Bounty, a new literary work of art celebrates the rich traditions of hunting and fishing that are so deeply embedded in the lives of those who are fortunate to call Alabama's Black Belt home. Its captivating cover will draw you into the pages filled with striking images from some of today's most gifted wildlife photographers and artists and their visual offerings are perfectly counterbalanced by words from an impressive bevy of skilled, award-winning writers and recipes from some of Alabama's nationally recognized celebrity chefs.

As an exquisitely produced coffee table book, it's a treasure no devotee of the natural world, no serious sportsman, and no connoisseur of stunning visual art and stirring words will want to be without. It is a volume that will bring distinction to the shelves and tables of any bibliophile and lover of the Alabama heartland and who enjoys sporting adventures in these bountiful wonders of sedge grass fields and sprawling prairies, our woodlands and waterways.

For more information and to order/purchase
Black Belt Bounty, please click here.

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

Every household will have the option of resonding online, by mail or by phone. 

Click here (this is a two-page pdf file) to  read about how you will be contacted to respond to the CENSUS. 

Visit the official Alabama Counts Census 
website  at 

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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  the
 Certified Automotive Technician flyer.

Click here to download the Certified Nursing Assistant 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 January 10, 17, 24, and 31, 2020.  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 Parade Video
Click here to view the Alabama Bicentennial Parade from Alabama NewsCenter.

UWA Division of Economic and Workforce Development |