Bevill State Community College (BSCC) signed an agreement with homebuilders from northwest Alabama on Monday, January 28, 2019, to partner in an effort to reduce employee turnover and implement the Ready-to-Work (RtW) program to enhance the pre-screening process to develop a strong workforce. The area homebuilders included in the partnership include Buccaneer Homes, Deer Valley Homebuilders, Inc., Platinum Homes, Southern Homes-Russellville, Sunshine Homes, Inc. and Tiffin Motorhomes, Inc.
The RtW program will be provided at no cost to Alabama residents. There will be job fairs for the homebuilders held on Thursday, February 7, from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m., and on Saturday, February 9, from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. Both will be held in the Adult Education Lab on the BSCC Hamilton Campus and will be considered the orientation for the RtW course. The first class will begin on Monday, February 18, at 5:30 p.m.
The RtW curriculum is set to standards cited by business and industry employers. It consists of six training modules (technology, FDIC, communication, workplace behaviors, problem solving, and job prep) and the ACT WorkKeys Assessment. The training will take place over a 5-week period on the Bevill State Community College Hamilton Campus. There can be up to fifteen participants per training. The homebuilders will support the class by engaging with students to share information about jobs, and on-campus interviews with the students during the program. Hiring preference will be given to any participant that successfully completes this class at BSCC. Bevill State will provide the instructors for the course, classroom space, and all materials and supplies to administer the class.
Al Moore, Dean of Workforce Solutions and Economic Development for BSCC, opened the meeting by welcoming everyone and discussing the genesis of this partnership in October 2018. “We started talking about possibilities, what we could do as an institution to serve this industry throughout the region,” he said.
Thomas Thompson of Platinum Homes in Lynn, AL said during Monday’s meeting, “We are looking to change the perception of the whole region for our industry and let people know that it is a good career opportunity for them. There are opportunities for them to not just start out at an entry-level, but move up very quickly because the workforce today has gotten so bad. We want to see a change in that. We hope that this is going to be an opportunity for that culture to start changing and for the word to get out that this will be something we can do for years to come to increase our workforce with the quality people we are looking for.”
Dr. Kim Ennis, President of Bevill State, referenced this change in culture as the agreement was signed stating, “That is the thing about all of the career tech programs. There has to be a cultural change in perception and a better understanding about the wonderful opportunities that are available to students that complete these programs.”
Tony Riley of Tiffin Motorhomes, Inc. stated, “We are proud to be a part of this program. We believe this is a positive step forward for both our communities and the companies associated with it. All of us have chosen to locate our businesses in this area. All of us want to hire local people and support our communities. By working together with Bevill State Community College we believe we can make this program a success. We are grateful to Dr. Ennis, Al Moore and his team for bringing local manufacturers together and seeking to address the issue. We believe this program can be beneficial both to our businesses and to our communities.”
Mayor Bob Page of Hamilton said following the meeting, “The effort that is being made here today, and is ongoing, is a delight in my eyes as mayor of Hamilton. One of the questions that always comes up in conversation with anyone who is astute about industry is – Do you have a workforce? Do you have the numbers to put in a plant if I bring one? Are they trained? Are they able to be trained? All of these questions are coming up. There is no question in my mind that our people have the training ability if they are called upon to fill a job, they just need an opportunity. This is the vehicle to provide that opportunity. And, I am so delighted to see this happening today. In my eyes, it is a grand thing. I applaud the College in its effort toward starting this program. It is a very good day for Hamilton and the region.”