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Skilled to Work: New director of Alabama Office of Apprenticeship lays out goals for office

Josh Laney highlighted the need for more youth apprenticeships as one of the main goals his office will address.

Posted: Oct 10, 2019 6:57 PM
Updated: Oct 10, 2019 8:22 PM

As the new Alabama Office of Apprenticeship (AOA) starts to educate citizens about its goals and the opportunities that come with registered apprenticeships, it’s new director, Josh Laney, said they are working to attract more young people into youth apprenticeships.

“If we keep waiting until students have graduated high school, waited till they’re floundering in the world, trying to figure out what they’re going to do, then we’re just missing the boat,” said Laney.

Statistics on Registered Apprenticeships in Alabama*

Current occupations:

  • Advanced Manufacturing - 95
    • Architecture & Engineering - 6
    • Installation, Maintenance, Repair - 43
    • Production - 46
  • Construction/Carpentry - 84
  • Management - 3
    • Financial - 1
    • Lodging - 1
    • Restaurant - 1
  • Office & Administrative Support - 2
  • Culinary Arts - 1
  • Distribution/Transportation/Logistics - 1
  • Education - 1
  • Healthcare - 1

*statistics from the U.S. Department of Labor

The Alabama Office of Apprenticeship was created when SB295 was signed into law earlier this year. The Alabama Office of Apprenticeship was created when SB295 was signed into law earlier this year.

Laney got his professional start in education. He spent more than 14 years with Phenix City Schools before moving on to serve as the senior director for workforce development for the Alabama Department of Education.

“It’s an exciting opportunity to do something new and different and, I think, very relevant in Alabama and in education,” said Laney.

He was announced as the new AOA director by Ed Castile, deputy secretary of the Alabama Department of Commerce and director of AIDT, back in August.

His appointment was the first major development in establishing the AOA, which was created when SB295 passed earlier this year. Senator Arthur Orr sponsored that bill.

“[T]he one thing that I've learned in my experience with career technical education and all through my education experience is that if you can get the student connected to that learning that matters to them, it takes on a whole new dynamic,” said Laney.

One the goals of the AOA is to increase the number of youth apprenticeships over the next few years. SB295 included a $500 tax credit for employers who take on a youth apprentice, or someone who is younger than 18-years-old.

“[N]o one is doing apprenticeships because they need the extra $500 tax credit, it’s about a signal. It's an affirmative signal from the governor’s office and the legislature to say, not only is it ok to do youth apprenticeships, we encourage it,” said Laney.

Governor Kay Ivey set out a goal of having 500,000 skilled workers in the state by 2025. Laney said not only is it important to get more young people into registered apprenticeships, but also to diversify the workforce, both by trade and by demographic.

“We know that a majority of people who are participating in apprenticeships right now is mostly in manufacturing and construction. That's where the majority of them are,” said Laney. “And we know that most of those participants are white males. We know that. And so we’re looking to make sure that we’re expanding that opportunity to all sub-populations, whether that’s based on race, gender or any other special sub-population that they fall under.”

Alabama recently announced that they are undertaking a combined funding plan that combines financial resources from both Perkins as well as the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA). The latter will help bring greater representation to those parts of the workforce that have been traditionally underrepresented.

“They will all be able to come together and understand their particular role in supporting the veterans if they’re veterans or supporting students with special needs or foster students. And those overlapping special populations from WIOA and Perkins, we’re definitely going to take special attention to them,” said Laney.

As the people in registered apprenticeships also diversifies, Laney said a big focus of the office is to start to tap industries where apprenticeships aren’t as common, like hospitality, IT and health care.

“[T]here are new types of apprenticeships being formed at the state and it’s being led by our industry partners. They're the ones coming and saying, ‘I’ve got to have people. I hear about this type of training program that I haven’t done before. Let's try it out,’” said Laney.

The AOA is in the process of assembling the Alabama Apprenticeship Council, which will help guide it moving forward. It will be comprised of some elected officials, some heads of workforce boards as well as nine appointed positions that will be confirmed by the Senate.

Laney said one of the biggest selling points of having the local office will be its ability to address community and business needs more quickly than the U.S. Department of Labor.

“[I]t’s much easier to call me and either me or someone from my staff will show up as quickly as possible to help you sort out any kind of roadblock you run into, when that hasn’t always been the case dealing with an outside office,” said Laney.

The U.S. Department of Labor has not provided a solid time line for when the AOA will be fully approved.

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Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 38442

Reported Deaths: 947
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson4210140
Montgomery378894
Mobile3634134
Tuscaloosa196436
Marshall14959
Lee116737
Shelby105623
Madison10216
Morgan9553
Franklin84313
Walker84317
Dallas8088
Elmore80614
Baldwin6639
Etowah60613
Butler60427
Chambers57627
DeKalb5765
Tallapoosa56069
Autauga53011
Unassigned50924
Russell4690
Lowndes45719
Houston4244
Lauderdale4105
Limestone4030
Cullman3983
Pike3965
Colbert3635
Bullock3609
Coffee3522
Barbour3221
Covington3086
St. Clair2922
Hale28520
Wilcox2788
Marengo27711
Sumter27512
Calhoun2685
Clarke2645
Escambia2586
Talladega2576
Dale2410
Winston2293
Jackson2102
Chilton2062
Blount2041
Pickens2046
Marion20012
Monroe1942
Choctaw19112
Conecuh1786
Randolph1699
Bibb1671
Macon1668
Greene1647
Perry1350
Henry1293
Crenshaw1223
Lawrence1000
Washington987
Cherokee717
Lamar711
Fayette661
Geneva630
Coosa551
Clay532
Cleburne291
Out of AL00

Tennessee Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 43509

Reported Deaths: 604
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Shelby10028192
Davidson9237113
Rutherford252834
Hamilton246630
Trousdale14855
Sumner141752
Williamson101314
Knox9675
Out of TN9527
Putnam7837
Wilson77917
Robertson77611
Lake6900
Bledsoe6171
Sevier6083
Tipton6074
Bradley5503
Bedford5135
Montgomery4797
Macon3943
Unassigned3690
Hardeman2991
Maury2873
Fayette2732
Rhea2690
Loudon2611
Madison2472
Hamblen2204
Dyer2141
McMinn21017
Cheatham2021
Dickson1750
Blount1733
Cumberland1683
Monroe1324
Washington1310
Lawrence1245
Lauderdale1192
Coffee1080
Anderson1022
Jefferson1020
Gibson1001
Obion942
Hardin935
Smith901
Sullivan892
Greene852
Wayne770
Franklin753
Haywood712
Marshall711
Hickman700
Marion644
White633
Warren620
Weakley601
Cocke580
Grundy581
McNairy580
Lincoln560
Overton560
Carter541
Unicoi540
DeKalb520
Hawkins512
Giles501
Roane440
Henry420
Polk410
Carroll391
Campbell361
Johnson360
Grainger350
Henderson320
Meigs320
Crockett313
Perry310
Cannon270
Jackson260
Claiborne250
Morgan241
Sequatchie240
Chester230
Humphreys221
Decatur210
Stewart210
Fentress170
Clay160
Scott140
Benton121
Houston120
Union120
Moore70
Van Buren70
Lewis60
Pickett60
Hancock30

 

 

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