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Workforce development cuts inaccurate

By By Kerry Whipple-Bean
Reports of the demise of funding for workforce development have been greatly exaggerated, a representative of Gov. Bob Riley’s office said Friday.
Dr. Matthew Hughes, director of the governor’s office of workforce development, said a miscommunication led to reports that Riley’s proposed budget for the next fiscal year would cut out workforce development and cut funds for adult education in the two-year college system.
Last fall, an executive order from Riley consolidated efforts in workforce development under Hughes’ newly created office, which Hughes said would allow for less duplication of efforts and better coordination of resources.
Hughes said requests will come to his office directly from industries, so that two-year colleges can respond to the training needs of new and existing businesses.
Economic development and education leaders at Friday’s symposium spoke of the importance of workforce development and adult education to the region’s success.
Al Bennett, coordinator of training for business and industry at Jefferson Davis Community College, said JDCC and the rest of the two-year system are committed to providing workforce training and education in other aspects of the workplace — including work ethic.