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National Fund for Workforce Solutions to Present Chairman’s Award to SAWDC in June for Exceptional Accomplishments in Workforce Development


National Fund for Workforce Solutions to Present Award in June for Excellence in Workforce Development

BOSTON – (June 3, 2014)—The National Fund for Workforce Solutions (National Fund), a national partnership of communities, employers, workers, and philanthropy, has named Southwest Alabama Workforce Development Council (SAWDC) in Mobile, Alabama as a recipient of its 2014 Chairman’s Award for Exemplary Collaborative.

Fred Dedrick, executive director of the National Fund, said of this recognition, “SAWDC is highly deserving of this award. As a high-performing collaborative partner, SAWDC has established a proven track record of strong employer leadership in developing demand-driven training and credentialing programs that align closely with regional economic development priorities. It is not surprising that their efforts are gaining statewide and national recognition.”

Southwest Alabama Workforce Development Council (SAWDC) is one of ten Regional Workforce Development Councils established in Alabama to provide a direct link to the workforce needs of business and industry at the local level. Business-driven and business-led, SAWDC’s integrated, comprehensive workforce development system serves as a key tool for economic development, the recruitment of new businesses, and the expansion of existing business and industry.

SAWDC Board Chairman, Sam Covert with Alabama Power Company, adds that “we are dedicated at SAWDC to building a world class workforce from the people who reside in our communities in order to enhance the quality of life for all our citizens and to meet the needs of our employers. This award affirms the commitment we made to prove ourselves worthy of this selection and is the result of the combined work of all our partners.”

SAWDC’s partnership with the National Fund has led to an even more effective implementation mode by providing SAWDC with a clear framework and a discipline for supporting and sustaining its four industry clusters in aviation, maritime, healthcare, and industrial construction and manufacturing—brokering services that address the needs of employers and lower-skilled adults.

Sandra Koblas, Director of Human Resources, Austal USA, and SAWDC Chairman-elect noted, “One of the most critical challenges facing the maritime industry is the availability of technically skilled workers. Our partnership with SAWDC enables us to overcome this challenge. SAWDC’s integrated approach to workforce development cultivates a skilled labor pool that meets our needs. We are most grateful for the resources provided by SAWDC through their partnership with the National Fund. This is by far the best approach to workforce development that I have experienced in my 25 plus years in industry.”

In partnership with such organizations as Alabama Industrial Development Training and the Central Gulf Industrial Alliance, SAWDC convenes, organizes key stakeholders, and maintains persistent attention to the needs of the two main customers: employers and workers. Key SAWDC investors, whose funding has been leveraged to accomplish this work, include the Community Foundation of South Alabama, the Mobile Area Chamber of Commerce, the City of Mobile, and Mobile County.

Since 2011, SAWDC has served 978 jobseekers and incumbent workers and enrolled 720 into training. A total of 526 jobseekers were managed into careers; 145 incumbent workers received wage increases; and 544 industry-recognized credentials were earned. In fact, the Governor’s Office of Workforce Development is actively working to replicate the SAWDC model throughout the State.

Executive Director, Laura Chandler, and representatives from SAWDC will formally receive their award at the National Fund Fourth Annual Meeting from June 17-19, 2014 in Chicago, IL. Southwest Alabama Workforce Development Council (SAWDC) is one of two collaboratives nationwide selected to receive this year’s Chairman’s Award for Exemplary Collaborative. The other collaborative to receive this award is SkillUp Washington.

To read more, click here for the press release.

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