UWA launches training program to increase employment opportunities in Black Belt

UWA President Richard D. Holland (front, center) welcomed 23 students to the Industrial Maintenance program and 16 to the Automotive Technician program as part of UWA’s workforce training initiative. Those pictured include: Christine Amerson, Resha Amerson, Mary Atkins, Sassie Atkins, Terence Bell, Donald  Bordeaux, Eddie Boyd, Demario Brown, Kendal Bryant, Sidetrius Clayton, Vanessa Cosby, Trinesa Davis, Kenya Edwards, Timothy Hibbler,  Michael Huth, Dominique Jenkins, Hawatha Lewis, Jonathan Lewis, Joseph Mann, Lakithia McMullen, Brandon Meriweather, Fred Moore, Ronnie Newton, Rachel Owens, Nicholis Pelt, Alondra Polk,  Ronald Reaves, Donta Reaves, Brentt Simpson, Bryant Snyder, Tony Speight, Keith Taylor, Laporsha Vawters, Danshelle Vawters, Brandon Walker, Jeremiah Ward, Lashon Washington, Tredonte Wilson and Cordell Young.

UWA President Richard D. Holland (front, center) welcomed 23 students to the Industrial Maintenance program and 16 to the Automotive Technician program as part of UWA’s workforce training initiative. Those pictured include: Christine Amerson, Resha Amerson, Mary Atkins, Sassie Atkins, Terence Bell, Donald  Bordeaux, Eddie Boyd, Demario Brown, Kendal Bryant, Sidetrius Clayton, Vanessa Cosby, Trinesa Davis, Kenya Edwards, Timothy Hibbler, Michael Huth, Dominique Jenkins, Hawatha Lewis, Jonathan Lewis, Joseph Mann, Lakithia McMullen, Brandon Meriweather, Fred Moore, Ronnie Newton, Rachel Owens, Nicholis Pelt, Alondra Polk, Ronald Reaves, Donta Reaves, Brentt Simpson, Bryant Snyder, Tony Speight, Keith Taylor, Laporsha Vawters, Danshelle Vawters, Brandon Walker, Jeremiah Ward, Lashon Washington, Tredonte Wilson and Cordell Young.

LIVINGSTON — As part of its efforts to improve employment opportunities for Black Belt citizens, the University of West Alabama has launched its Applied Manufacturing Technology Certification Program. With successful completion of the program, students will earn the credentials of Automotive Technician Certification and Industrial Maintenance Certification.

The program orientation took place on the UWA campus in Kelley Land Hall, with UWA President Richard Holland, Outreach Services Director Kenneth Walker, and Center for Business and Economic Services Director Billy McFarland welcoming the first cohort of 39 students.

These certifications are tailored to the manufacturing industry and will place candidates on a career pathway to job placement. UWA has partnered with Alabama Power Company and other business and industries throughout West Alabama to ensure participants are trained according to the industry’s needs.

The training program is a major step in UWA’s initiative to serve the workforce needs of the Black Belt region by providing highly-qualified skilled workers to regional industries, a vision of UWA President Richard Holland.

“Our institution has planned for some time now to be able to provide this type of industry training to our citizens, and this program is the beginning of what we think will be a tremendous increase for employment opportunities in the Black Belt,” Holland said. “Not only will we open doors for new industries who will consider our area for locations, we will make it possible for people to secure employment in jobs where they will receive higher compensation than they would without this training.”

“The two-fold benefits of this certification program will be seen in a relatively short amount of time, as these participants will be ready to enter the work force in one year or less,” Holland explained. “Even better, the results are far-reaching and will serve our region for many years by greatly enhancing area industries and their ability to employ a greater number of our citizens for many years to come.”

“The Manufacturing Technology Training Program provides us with a unique opportunity to bring much needed job skills in the area of manufacturing to the residents of the Black Belt,” said Veronica Triplett, program coordinator.

The University has plans to enhance the program by offering additional training and preparation opportunities for workforce development. The certification program is part of the $2.19 million U.S. Department of Labor Employment and Training Administration grant that Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis awarded The University of West Alabama in September, 2012.