More than 450 educators from Attalla City Schools, Etowah County Schools, and Gadsden City Schools participated in the Etowah Qualified Workforce Immersion Program (EQWIP) on October 24, 2023. Presented as a partnership between the school systems, East AlabamaWorks, Gadsden State Community College, and The Chamber of Gadsden and Etowah County, the annual program allows educators to get outside the classroom and tour local industries. The tours give educators an opportunity to learn more about the careers available in the community, plus the training and education requirements for those careers. They can then take this information back into the classroom and ultimately to their students. Tours included visits to Back Forty Beer Company, Buffalo Rock, Devan Lowe Buick-Cadillac-GMC, the Gadsden Fire Department Fire School, Gadsden Regional Medical Center, Hokes Bluff Welding & Fabrication, Koller Craft, Prince Metal Stamping, Stamped Products, and ZLA Solutions.

The day also included tours of technical education programs on Gadsden State Community College’s three Etowah County campuses.

There were also a variety of presentations during breakfast and lunch sessions. Local business owner Bethanne Mashburn presented on “The Importance of Education in Workforce”, Challenger Learning Center Advisory Council Chair, Barry Cherry, gave attendees an update on the new learning center, Gadsden-Etowah IDA Director, David Hooks, spoke about the new Ultra Safe Nuclear plant, and Etowah County CEO, Shane Ellison, gave an update on the Northeast Alabama Regional Megasite.  The lunch session featured a “Women in Industry” panel discussion moderated by Gadsden State’s Dean of Workforce Development, Alan Smith.

Check out the photo gallery below!