CTE instructors and counselors from schools throughout the Talladega County School System participated in an Educator Workforce Academy as a professional development day activity on Monday, August 5. Thirty-five educators joined sponsors East AlabamaWorks and Coosa Valley Medical Center for a day of tours meant to introduce the teachers to the wide variety of careers that are available in the Talladega County community.

The Academy started off at BB Comer Memorial High School with a breakfast presentation from Josh Laney who is the former Senior Director for Workforce Development for the Alabama State Department of Education. He was recently named as the Director of the newly created Alabama Office of Apprenticeships. Laney spoke to the teachers about the state’s new apprenticeship model and about the gaps between the careers in which high school students express an interest, and the reality of the careers that are actually available to them in their community.

Following breakfast, the group visited Pursell Farms where they learned about careers in the hospitality and tourism industry before heading to Coosa Valley Medical Center. The hospital hosted tours of several key departments and presented information on the wide variety of career options available within the medical industry.

During lunch, the educators participated in a Human Resources panel discussion featuring Jeff Argo from Resolute Forest Products, John Parrish from Nemak, and Janean Crawford from CVMC.

For the afternoon tour, the group visited IKO Products – learning about the process for manufacturing asphalt roofing shingles, and the variety of high-wage, high demand careers available within the IKO organization.

The purpose of the Educator Workforce Academies is to get educators out of the classroom and into local business and industry to see for themselves the careers (plus salaries, benefits, training, education, etc) available to their students and learn about the needs of local business and industry as they relate to the education and training of their future workforce. In return, the teachers are better equipped to answer student questions about jobs and careers, and are better able to counsel those students on choices effecting their future plans.

To date, East AlabamaWorks, and its workforce development partners, have taken more than a thousand teachers and school administrators on industry tours throughout the state’s Workforce Region 2 which covers Calhoun, Cherokee, Clay, Cleburne, Etowah, Randolph, and Talladega counties.