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SAWDC Receives the National Fund for Workforce Solutions Partners Council Award for Exemplary Industry Partnerships



National Fund for Workforce Solutions to Present Award in June for Excellence In Workforce Development for Region’s Lower-Income Workers

BOSTON – (May 7, 2013)—The National Fund for Workforce Solutions (NFWS), a national philanthropic initiative leading the advancement of low-wage workers and unemployed into family-supporting jobs, has named the Southwest Alabama Workforce Development Council (SAWDC) as a recipient of its 2013 National Fund for Workforce Solutions Partners Council Award for Exemplary Industry Partnership.

SAWDC, which serves eight counties in Southwest Alabama has established a delivery model for moving low skilled workers into career opportunities in the maritime industry. The group is receiving this award for creating industry partnerships that deliver services to address industry skill gaps and competencies, lead to industry recognized credentials, and promote career advancement for low skilled workers.

In announcing this award, NFWS Executive Director Fred Dedrick said, “We congratulate Laura Chandler and the entire collaborative for building impactful industry partnerships, which has proven them deserving of the National Fund’s Partners Council Award. They embody the award’s spirit by bringing together employers, educators, government, service providers and philanthropic organizations to deliver high-quality education and training services that advance the careers of lower-income workers and build system capacity for the future.”

SAWDC has focused their attention on four industry clusters - aviation, maritime, industrial construction and manufacturing, and healthcare - which were chosen due to the high demand and high growth prospects for these industries. 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. 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.  Key SAWDC investors, whose funding has been leveraged to accomplish this work, include the Community Foundation of South Alabama, the City of Mobile, and Mobile County.

Since becoming an NFWS site in May 2011, SAWDC and its partners have served 350 jobseekers, enrolled 274 into training, and managed 230 into jobs exceeding original expectations.  A total of 211 industry credentials have been awarded  During the same period, 93 incumbent workers completed training, upgraded their skills, and 100% received wage increases with an average increase of 5%.

According to SAWDC Executive Director, Laura Chandler, “The solutions extend beyond training or education programs. SAWDC identifies better ways to provide these services and advocates for programmatic improvements to systems or policies.” The resulting job training and career supports that meet the needs of both employers and employees in these industry clusters has proven critical.

SAWDC Board Chairman, Sam Covert with Alabama Power Company, further 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. Being selected as one of only 32 partners nationwide by the National Fund for Workforce Solutions has provided us with the resources and technical assistance to put us on the path to realizing our vision. This award is affirmation that the commitment we made to prove ourselves worthy of this selection and is the result of the combined work of all our partners.”

Southwest Alabama Workforce Development Council was one of two collaboratives selected from across the U.S. to receive the Partners Council Award for Exemplary Industry Partnerships. Representatives from SAWDC will formally receive their award at the Third Annual National Fund Meeting in Atlanta from June 11-13, 2013, in Atlanta, Ga.

For information about the National Fund for Workforce Solutions and its Third Annual Meeting, visit For information about the Southwest Alabama Workforce Development Council, visit .




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