Industry needs addressed

Published 10:04 pm Monday, April 2, 2007

By By Adrienne McKenzie
Coordinator of workforce development for Region 9, Al Etheridge, spoke Wednesday morning at Jefferson Davis Community College in Atmore about skills potential employees will need to become successful in the work environment.
Emilie Mims, executive director of the Atmore Area Chamber of Commerce, said the meeting was useful in keeping employers informed of ways to keep employee skills up to standards.
"The meeting was to assess workforce skill needs in the four-county area that comprises Region 9," Mims said. "Then, to work with area educators, community leaders, businesses and industries to design programs to bring up skill levels as needed."
Kathleen Hall, dean of instruction at JDCC, felt the meeting was important because Etheridge discussed ways to combine education and business to create the most favorable results.
"We discussed business and industry needs as compared to educational programs and how we can work together to make them most beneficial to prospective employees," Hall said. "I thought the meeting was very beneficial to bring educators together with business and industry to show the importance of working together."
A variety of business leaders were represented at the meeting, including individuals from Brewton, Flomaton and Atmore.
"About 20 people were there," Hall said. "They were representing a variety of business and industries plus employment services, Jefferson Davis Community College, the Escambia County School system, Alabama Technology Network and the Chamber of Commerce executive directors."
Hall felt the meeting was beneficial to both educators and business leaders.
"It helped educators know business and industry needs of what they expect of employees," Hall said. "It also helped them (business and industry leaders) to learn that we are doing things to help and that we are using workkeys."
Workkeys is a program that assesses job skills, calculating the skills employers feel are crucial to being successful in the work environment.
According to the office of workforce development Web site, workkeys "defines, measures and certifies" individuals knowledge and skills that they would need to enter the workforce.
Mims feels it is a great thing that JDCC uses the workkeys program.
"I was very encouraged to find out Jefferson Davis Community College is already doing a workkeys program which measures the skill level of individuals."
Overall, Hall felt the meeting was a success and useful for making contacts.
"It was a good networking opportunity," Hall said.

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