Local leaders will help address key policy issues facing job seekers
Dothan, Alabama – Southeast AlabamaWorks announced today that they have named two community leaders, Phil Clayton of Barbour County and Jennifer Hall of Covington County, to a statewide panel that will examine challenges facing local citizens regarding job opportunities.
In 2019 the National Skills Coalition launched a new network – SkillSPAN, or Skills State Policy Advocacy Network, a nationwide network of non-partisan coalitions seeking to raise the skills of American workers across a range of industries through policy changes. Alabama is honored to be one of 20 states to develop a SkillSPAN coalition, and support an affiliate network, BLU, or Business Leaders United, whose end goal through policy recommendations is to expand economic opportunities for workers and their families while boosting local business capacity.
Southeast AlabamaWorks, and all seven of Alabama’s Regional Workforce Councils, have been asked to serve a pivotal role in identifying participants for the state’s coalition at regional levels, to form a comprehensive assessment of needs and skills gaps in our workforce. Southeast AlabamaWorks is pleased to nominate Philip Clayton and Jennifer Hall to the coalition and have the utmost confidence that their expertise and backgrounds will make them both valuable additions and strong voices for southeast Alabama.
Dean Mitchell, Southeast AlabamaWorks board member stated, “Jennifer and Phil represent the best of our area when it comes to workforce development and community concerns. They both have a passion for helping individuals gain employment and help our businesses and industries thrive. We are honored they would represent Southeast Alabama in this important initiative and are confident they will provide meaningful solutions to the workforce development challenges our citizens and communities face.”
Philip Clayton, Director of Economic Development at Eufaula Barbour Chamber of Commerce, has a career boasting 36 years with the Alabama National Guard, where he rose to the rank of Colonel and last served as the Deputy Commander for Sustainment of the 20th Special Forces Group (Airborne). He is also a practicing attorney.
Jennifer Hall is the Associate Dean of Adult Education, Workforce Development, and Continuing Education at LBW Community College, where she began her career 19 years ago as an Instructor and has since gained vital familiarity with skills gaps in our local workforce as she advanced through roles of increasing responsibility.
Both Clayton and Hall have worked diligently in southeast Alabama to expand opportunities in the realms of economic development and workforce training and education and will provide critical insight into the coalition’s policy recommendations.
Ultimately, these coalitions aim to improve access for low-skilled and middle-skilled opportunities and will determine how we fill those skills gaps through policy changes. A simplified way of thinking of it, SKillSPAN will advocate policy for job seekers while BLU recommends policy to enhance business and industry capacity and expand/upskill their workforce.
With Alabama’s coalition identified, the goal is to have recommendations completed by the end of 2020, holding a kickoff meeting on October 2nd, with a final Policy Agenda Meeting scheduled for December 4th.
SkillSPAN and BLU coalitions are an opportunity for collaboration on an unprecedented scale to advance state policies that fill Alabama’s workforce pipelines.
Alabama’s existing programs lay the framework to be an asset to businesses and job seekers in Alabama, but program funding is limited, and requirements often leave both parties unable to access the full benefits of these systems.
Through a unified message and a clear vision of the most efficient ways to upskill Alabama’s workforce, these coalitions will be a crucial voice in bringing awareness to not only the limitations, but also the possibilities that could be available through policy change.