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The aerospace industry is one of the key clusters in Southwest Alabama, and includes several of the largest employers in the region. This cluster employs highly-skilled workers in the region who earn above average wages. The aerospace industry bolsters the Southwest Alabama regions reputation as a leader in high technology and innovation.

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The manufacturing cluster in Southwest Alabama includes a wide range of advanced manufacturing companies. Process manufacturers in the region include leading producers of steel, chemicals, and paper related products. The region's skilled workforce supports manufacturing which directly employs over 25,000 workers in Southwest Alabama.

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Southwest Alabama supports a major maritime cluster, spearheaded by its renowned shipbuilding industry. The Mobile Bay gives the region a natural advantage to propel and sustain this highly competitive cluster. The maritime cluster includes not only shipbuilding, but port activities and the economic activity generated by water transportation enterprises.

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Southwest Alabama is home to a vibrant health care community that includes not only health care providers but researches and educators as well. The healthcare industry is a stabilizing force in the regional labor market that can stay strong and expand employment throughout the economic cycle. The healthcare cluster provides world-class treatment for residents in Southwest Alabama while also providing challenging and rewarding jobs.

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In a growing region like Southwest Alabama, the construction sector provides key support in the expansion of the infrastructure. Construction employed approximately 17,000 workers in the region in 2010. It is expected to grow quickly, adding close to 3,000 additional jobs over the next ten years. The construction cluster is an important cog in Southwest Alabama's economy as it continues to expand in size and diversity.


SAWDC Alabama Works is an employer-established and employer-led non-profit organization whose mission is to develop strategic partnerships which attract, educate and train students and workers to better meet employer needs and foster economic growth in a global marketplace. With a vision to create a fully comprehensive, integrated workforce development system, SAWDC has partnered to establish four high quality workforce partnerships - a sound strategy for helping individuals obtain and advance in good careers while at the same time ensuring that employers have high-quality skills that are needed to compete in today's dynamic economy.

The four industry clusters - aviation, maritime, industrial construction/manufacturing, and healthcare - were chosen due to the high demand and high growth prospects for these industries.  With a dual customer approach, SAWDC convenes, organizes key stakeholders, and maintains persistent attention to the needs of the two main customers: employers and workers.  By engaging employers and other partners in identifying workforce needs, SAWDC aligns funding from various sources and brokers services that address the career advancement needs of employers and lower-skilled adults.


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SAWDC: Five Years of Engagement with the National Fund for Workforce Solutions

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Southwest Alabama Partnership for Training and Employment (SWAPTE) is a regional partnership of business, education, labor and community leaders and, just like SAWDC Alabama Works, serves Region 7 including Baldwin, Choctaw, Clarke, Conecuh, Escambia, Mobile, Monroe, Washington and Wilcox counties.  A key partner of SAWDC Alabama Works, SWAPTE provides a network of resources that offer comprehensive employment, career counseling and job training services to businesses and job seekers through the one-stop Alabama Career Centers. In particular, SWAPTE is positioned to work with local businesses to leverage their training investment, adding profit back to their bottom line. SWAPTE ‘s On-the-Job Training pays up to 50% of costs to train a company's eligible new hires from 11 to 26 weeks; while SWAPTE’s Incumbent Worker Training pays up to 50% of a company's total training costs for existing staff, up to $30,000 maximum per contract. Businesses put up the other 50% and may contribute in-kind contributions as well as cash toward the match.

To find our more about SWAPTE and its valuable services and resources, click here.


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What does it take to have a successful future? That is the question that was asked of over 9,000 area eighth graders on September 20th and 21st at the 2017 SAWDC Worlds of Opportunity Career Expo. Public and private school students visited the Mobile Civic Center over the course of a two-day period for a hands-on, interactive career exploration experience led by business professionals from eleven key South Alabama industries. To learn more, go to

Today's Realities - Tomorrow's Workforce: Addressing Region 7's Rural Workforce Mismatch

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