The Division of Economic and Workforce Development at The University of West Alabama
May 2020
Workforce Development
UWA becomes Sponsor for nationally recognized Registered Apprenticeship program

The University of West Alabama (UWA) is the first university in the state to be recognized by the Alabama Office of Apprenticeship as a Sponsor for Registered Apprenticeship programs according to a joint announcement from UWA and the Alabama Office of Apprenticeship along with employer partner, Alabama Pellets and Pinnacle Renewable Energy

Registered Apprenticeships are nationally recognized and meet the rigors of federal standards that include, business involvement, on-the-job training, related instruction, a progressive wage scale, and industry-recognized credentials. In the role of a Sponsor, UWA will be responsible for the administration involved in maintaining this recognition as well as managing overall program operation. 

Dr. Ken Tucker, President of UWA said, "we are excited that UWA is now a registered apprenticeship sponsoring institution. By entering this new partnership with the Alabama Office of Apprenticeship, along with our employer partner, Alabama Pellet and Pinnacle Renewable Energy, we are demonstrating our commitment to provide meaningful experiences that allow students to develop their skills necessary to transition successfully from the classroom to the workplace." 

"The Alabama Office of Apprenticeship is proud to support these innovative programs that demonstrate new strategies in workforce development," stated Josh Laney, Director of the Alabama Office of Apprenticeship. "We hope that UWA's sponsorship serves as a catalyst for modern apprenticeships as we continue to build Alabama's competitive workforce and create accessible training opportunities for our residents." 

"Through partnerships with champion employers like Pinnacle Renewable Energy, apprenticeships are building pathways to advanced careers," said Laney. "We are encouraged to see companies from around the world recognize the opportunities provided by partnering with Alabama's outstanding educational institutions, like the University of West Alabama." 

"Pinnacle is proud to partner with UWA and other participants to make this a reality," said Alabama Pellets' General Manager, Ritu Linhart. "Apprenticeships are a proven approach for preparing workers for jobs while meeting the needs of businesses for a highly skilled workforce. Employers benefit from increased retention, productivity, safety, and diversity, while apprentices are provided hands-on training at the job site on a pathway towards a career." 

UWA is establishing this sponsorship directly in line with Governor Ivey's Success Plus Plan for 500,000 newly credentialed Alabamians by 2025. Through competency-based education and stackable credentials, UWA is demonstrating innovative leadership with their local partners in building viable talent pipelines and encouraging Alabama job seekers to enter these life-changing career pathways.

"This initiative provides tremendous flexibility for local business and industry partners and great opportunity for students to all be a part of a nationally-recognized program," explained Laney. "UWA is a pioneer for institutions of higher education as they pave the way for the use of registered apprenticeships as an innovative workforce solution." 

"In our duty to serve our region, we actively seek creative opportunities to effectively prepare students for the industries that are here now and are expected to continue to flourish for many years,"emphasized Tucker. "By doing this, we help build a stronger workforce, and we guide students to successful careers where they are equipped to meet the demands and earn the high wages they deserve." 

"Contributing to the creation of meaningful training and employment opportunities to further develop the skills of the workforce is a huge win for everyone involved," said Dr. Tina Jones, Vice President of UWA's Division of Economic and Workforce Development. Alabama Pellets has been actively involved as the champion company and first member of UWA's Registered Apprenticeship consortium and the Alabama Office of Apprenticeships has been our guiding force in making this effort a success." 

"UWA's Division of Economic and Workforce Development has done a tremendous job of cultivating relationships, developing programs, and seeking funding for the initiatives that support the workforce component of higher education," Tucker said. " We recognize that to strengthen our region, more than ever we must prepare students for the occupations that exist now and in the future so they can plant their feet on the ground here in the Black Belt and maximize their potential while sustaining our region's many assets and opportunities." 

For additional information, contact the UWA Division of Economic and Workforce Development at 1.833.UWAWORK or go to
Co-Starters Kick-off with Small Businesses.

A partnership between The  UWA Division of Economic & Workforce Development and CO.STARTERS allowed 13 small businesses to benefit from full scholarships to join the REBUILD program. These companies are from 
eight rural counties in West Alabama.

Thanks to this scholarship, small business owners will be able to follow a 10-session program that will help them refocus their business, stabilize it, and build toward long-term recovery. This program is aimed to help them recover from the COVID-19 crisis. 
The first session happened on May 21st

If you want to learn more about the Rebuild Program, click here

Community Outreach
GoFundMe Campaign to support UWA Black Belt Museum's production of Face Shields 

Face Shields being produced

During COVID-19, UWA Black Belt Museum is using 3D Printers to provide face shields to the community. They have already produced 1558 of them. To keep providing  free masks to health professionals, they created a GoFundMe page. 

Each shield costs $1 to produce. Even the smallest contributions can go a long way to helping them continue this production.

Don't forget to check out the Black Belt Museum Website for all their updates:


The Delta Regional Authority  has launched an online community survey to capture resident feedback about our region to guide economic development efforts over the next five years, the  Regional Development Plan IV

For the initiative to be successful, it is important to hear from residents. The short survey poses questions on the region's strengths and weaknesses, recruitment of industry, top goals for the region, how to retain young professionals and families, workforce and quality of life. 

The survey, which should take less than ten minutes to complete, closes on June 4, 2020. Take the survey here.
Frankie Malveo Jr.,  a student worker at the Division has received the Alabama Society of CPA's Educational Foundation Scholarship. The ASCPA Educational Foundation awards scholarships each year to students across the state of Alabama.
Congratulations Frankie! 

It is more important than never to be counted 

Funding for Programs that Impact You, Your Family and Our Communities
Funding to Alabama for many important programs that affect health care, education, housing assistance, infrastructure development and more is tied in some form to census data. An accurate count will ensure that the state receives its fair share of funding for these important programs.  A recent study indicates that the U.S. government returned almost $1,600 to the state in 2015 for every Alabamian counted in the census.

To find out more about why the Census is important to you and all of Alabama, visit the following link 

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

The Career Center staff is still available to serve you! 
Call 334-289-0202

Follow us on  
facebook at

Make a difference in your rural community, complete your census HERE
Get your tickets HERE for The Alabama Summit on Rural Innovation & Entrepreneurship! 

Check out, the new website for the division. 
ACT Work Ready Communities Repor t
Sumter County is a certified Work Ready Community with 98% 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 
During COVID-19 our regularly scheduled ACT Workkeys testing has been suspended. However, we are still available to assist individuals in preparing for testing and to schedule test post COVID-19 restrictions. For information, call (205)652-3828 or email

UWA Certified Nursing  Assistant 
program and Certified
 Automotive Technician program are still accepting

Click  here to 
Certified Automotive 
Technician flyer.

Click  here to download the Certified Nursing Assistant flyer.

Division of Economic and Workforce Development

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 .
UWA Division of Economic and Workforce Development |