Representatives from Mercedes-Benz, Nucor Steel, Bolta US, ZF Chassis Systems, Phifer Incorporated and Brose discuss strategies to improve career technical education in Alabama.

West Alabama industry leaders, educators, students and parents met at Shelton State Community College Thursday, Aug. 1 to create a plan for the future of career technical education in Alabama.

The Governor’s Office, Alabama Community College System, Alabama State Department of Education and West Alabama Works held a public stakeholder meeting to garner input for Gov. Kay Ivey’s plans for career technical education (CTE). Alabama, along with the rest of the country, has increased funds for CTE since the Carl D. Perkins Vocational and Technical Education Act was re-authorized and passed by Congress in 2018, renaming the law the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century (Perkins V) Act.

“Career technical education is our future. It gives all students—regardless of their post-graduation plans—career readiness and technical skills. Improving our state’s CTE offerings will help us improve our workforce and community as a whole,” said West Alabama Works Executive Director and Chamber of Commerce of West Alabama COO Donny Jones. Jones is also an appointed member of Gov. Ivey’s CTE curriculum board.

The group discussed issues such as recruiting and retaining career technical education instructors, helping students and parents understand the benefits of CTE and ensuring industry needs aligned with CTE courses offered.

Attendees included Shelton State Community College President Dr. Bill Ashley, Tuscaloosa City Schools Superintendent Dr. Mike Daria, Tuscaloosa County School System Superintendent Dr. Walter Davie, ZF Chassis Systems Plant Manager and Chamber of Commerce of West Alabama Chair of Education and Workforce Brad Newman, Phifer Incorporated Director of Human Resources Russell DuBose, Tuscaloosa Area Career Center Director Larry Jowers and other players in education and workforce development from West Alabama. Gov. Ivey’s Education and Policy Advisor Nick Moore led the meeting.

The group will reconvene Thursday, Sept. 26 at 5:30 p.m. at Shelton State Community College for more input from local stakeholders.

For more information on Perkins V, click here.