Manufacturing courses set for Livingston, Demopolis

Monday marked the official beginning of a long-anticipated project that promises to enhance the workforce of Livingston, Demopolis and surrounding regions.

The project, according to University of West Alabama Associate Director of the Center for Business and Economic Services, is a customized training program that will focus on manufacturing skills and technologies incorporated in all major manufacturing industries located within UWA’s eight-county service area.

UWA, through a collaborative effort of the Industrial Maintenance Division of the College of Business and the Division of Outreach Services and industry partners such as RockTenn will establish a comprehensive industrial technology training model for Trade Adjustment Assistance eligible workers and other adults. The goal is to train workers in three tracks designed to lead to industry recognized certificates, Associates and Bachelor’s degrees for high-wage and high-skilled employment.

“The delivery strategy will use the most up-to-date technology, equipment and methodology including hybrid courses, online lectures, web applications, state-of-the-industry laboratories and industry-based experiential learning,” Mance said of the initiative. “The main training site will be in Livingston with a satellite program in Demopolis.”

The meticulously-planned project gained an additional boost in recent weeks with the announcement that UWA received a $2.2 million workforce development grant from the Department of Labor intended to help the university provide training to current and potential workers throughout the region.

The team responsible for the grant included Dr. Rebecca Harvard and the staff of the Office of Sponsored Programs, the College of Business, Division of Outreach Services, Billy McFarland, Director of the Center for Business and Economic Services and Mance, who also serves as Director of the Demopolis Higher Education Center.

“We are so appreciative of the support of our industry partner, RockTenn, and also of the support of Congresswoman Terry Sewell, Senators Richard Shelby and Jeff Sessions and the City of Demopolis,” Mance said. “There was a great synergy at the local, state, and federal levels that made this grant possible. This is an exciting time for the University of West Alabama and the people that this grant will enable us to serve.”