- II. Strategic Elements
The Unified or Combined State Plan must include a Strategic Planning Elements section that analyzes the State’s current economic environment and identifies the State’s overall vision for its workforce development system. The required elements in this section allow the State to develop data-driven goals for preparing an educated and skilled workforce and to identify successful strategies for aligning workforce development programs to support economic growth. Unless otherwise noted, all Strategic Planning Elements apply to Combined State Plan partner programs included in the plan as well as to core programs.
- a. Economic, Workforce, and Workforce Development Activities Analysis
The Unified or Combined State Plan must include an analysis of the economic conditions, economic development strategies, and labor market in which the State’s workforce system and programs will operate.
- a. Economic, Workforce, and Workforce Development Activities Analysis
II. a. 2. Workforce Development, Education and Training Activities Analysis
The Unified or Combined State Plan must include an analysis of the workforce development activities, including education and training in the State, to address the education and skill needs of the workforce, as identified in (a)(1)(B)(iii) above, and the employment needs of employers, as identified in (a)(1)(A)(iii) above. This must include an analysis of—
A. The State’s Workforce Development Activities
Provide an analysis of the State’s workforce development activities, including education and training activities of the core programs, Combined State Plan partner programs included in this plan, and required 6 and optional one-stop delivery system partners.7
 Required one-stop partners: In addition to the core programs, the following partner programs are required to provide access through the one-stops: Career and Technical Education (Perkins), Community Services Block Grant, Indian and Native American programs, HUD Employment and Training programs, Job Corps, Local Veterans' Employment Representatives and Disabled Veterans' Outreach Program, National Farmworker Jobs program, Senior Community Service Employment program, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) (unless the Governor determines TANF will not be a required partner), Trade Adjustment Assistance programs, Unemployment Compensation programs, and YouthBuild.
 Workforce development activities may include a wide variety of programs and partners, including educational institutions, faith- and community-based organizations, and human services.
B. The Strengths and Weaknesses of Workforce Development Activities
Provide an analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of the workforce development activities identified in (A), directly above.
C. State Workforce Development Capacity
Provide an analysis of the capacity of State entities to provide the workforce development activities identified in (A), above.
Alabama devotes significant resources to education and workforce development at the local, regional, and state levels. In 2014, the Governor created and formally established the Alabama Workforce Council. The Council was tasked with advising and supporting core partners in Alabama’s workforce development and education system to include, but not limited to, reviewing ways to streamline and align the existing workforce development functions in the State, evaluating regional workforce development, and educational needs by promoting regional workforce councils and evaluating public/private partnerships (sectors) to create a feedback loop for industry and education.
The core public workforce system programs include WIOA Title I-B, Wagner-Peyser, Adult Education, and Rehabilitation Services, which provide a number of educational training activities through their respective programs to populations with barriers to employment. All of these programs are represented on the Alabama Workforce Development Board (AWDB). The AWDB also has cross representation from the private business sector membership on the Alabama Workforce Council. The Alabama Workforce System (AWS) includes the following programs and entities operated through the following agents:
Alabama Career Center System - Operated as a partnership between the Alabama Department of Commerce (WIOA Adult, Dislocated Worker, and Youth) and the Alabama Department of Labor (Wagner-Peyser, UI, TAA and Veterans), the Alabama Career Center System also collaborates with Adult Education, Rehabilitative Services, TANF, SNAP, and Title IV of the Older Americans Act (SCESP). Statewide, there are 26 Comprehensive Career Centers and 24 affilate sites in the system. In Program Year (PY) 2018, the Alabama Career Center System provided 352,837 individuals with Wagner-Peyser labor exchange services and 7,924 individuals with WIOA training services, serving low-income adults, youth, and dislocated workers. Wagner-Peyser funding was $8,502,449 and Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act funds totaled $48,252,747.
Adult Education Activities - Adult Education services are offered through the Alabama Community College System (ACCS) throughout the state. PY 2017 funding totaled $20,154,737 and had enrolled approximately 20,000 full time and 26,000 part-time students in adult education classes. Adult Education has been an active partner with the Alabama Career Center system since 2001 and continues to expand services within the Career Centers under WIOA.
Alabama Department of Labor - The Alabama Department of Labor (ADOL) houses the Wagner-Peyser program (Employment Service), Unemployment Insurance, Trade Act, and Veterans Services programs. ADOL Wagner-Peyser and WIOA Title I programs have been co-located as part of the Alabama Career Centers since 2001. The Alabama JobLink (AJL) is provided by the ADOL. Alabama Job Link is the online job seeker and employer registration system that provides job seeker skills, abilities and work history with employers posting job openings in the system. ADOL provides Trade Act services and Veterans employment representatives in the Career Centers. In PY2018 approximately 350,000 job seekers were registered in the AJL system.
Alabama Department of Rehabilitation Services (ADRS) - The Department of Rehabilitation Services Vocational Rehabilitation Services (VRS) provides specialized employment and education-related services and training to help teens and adults with disabilities in becoming employable. Services include skill assessments, counseling, training programs, job placement, assistive technology and transportation. For PY 2018, funding for the VRS program totaled approximately $25,000,000. For the same period, 31,244 job seekers with disabilities were provided services. Since 2001, the VRS has been an active partner in the Alabama Career Center System.
Optional Partner Programs
- Alabama Department of Human Resources (DHR) – The Alabama TANF Program operated by the Alabama Department of Human Resources. TANF provides family assistance to provide income to low income one parent families to furnish basic needs for dependents. The welfare to work component of family assistance is known as the JOBS program. All clients receiving assistance are referred to the JOBS Unit for assessment in regard to their skills, prior work experience, and employability. Individuals on family assistance determined to be ready to engage in work activities will be placed in a work-related activity such as subsidized/unsubsidized employment, job search, job readiness classes, skills training or GED classes. The number of TANF clients in work activities for PY 2015 averaged 4,800 monthly, and TANF expenditures for work activities totaled $12,243,965.The SNAP or the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (food stamps), manged by DHR, also operated a work-related program through a contract with the Alabama Department of Labor for job search assistance. The number of clients provided services was 18,089 and expenditures totaled $1,392,000.
- Alabama Department of Senior Services - The Senior Community Service Employment Program provides work-based job training for older Americans age 55 and up. For PY 2018, Alabama was allocated $1,599,492 for the program to fund 165 slots for older workers through 16 subgrantees across the state.
- The Perkins Career and Technical Education component of Alabama’s community college system and K-12 public schools are included as a formal partner to the WIOA combined for the first time through the 2020 Combined Plan, which creates important support for the Alabama workforce system. Alabama’s College and Career Ready Standards for all high school graduates play an important role in preparing all students for college and workplace success. The Alabama Community College System is critical to the success of all workforce development activities in the state.
- Strong support from political, education, and business leaders for workforce programs across all agencies and programs.
- Leadership within the Alabama Community College System (ACCS) are aligning training programs with the needs of growing industries. The ACCS with its network of 26 colleges and more than 100 instructional sites provides access to students throughout the state seeking career pathways and credentials to qualify for middle-skills jobs.
- There is a culture of strong communication and collaboration that enhances services throughout the Alabama Career Center System. The Alabama Career Center System provides services to job seekers and employers at comprehensive centers and affiliate sites.
- Limited data integration - Core partner programs maintain separate data management systems for participant tracking and case management functions.
- Limited awareness of the public workforce system by job seekers and employers. A unified and universal brand for the Alabama public workforce system is being implemented.
- Lack of a P20-W statewide longitudinal data system to track how job seekers and students are using the Alabama public workforce system and competency-based job training programs to transition from K-12 and postsecondary education to employment. Alabama is working on a new system, the ATLAS on Career Pathways, which will be operation in late 2020.
- The core and partner public workforce system agencies must continue to emphasize soft skills training into all Alabama public workforce system training programs.
The Alabama workforce system’s capacity to provide services to both jobseekers and employers is shared by a number of agencies and program providers as summarized in (2A) of this document. The state’s network of Career Centers is a shared function among the Alabama Department of Commerce for WIOA Title I services, the Alabama Department of Labor (ADOL) for Wagner-Peyser, UI, Trade Act and Veterans’ services, the Alabama Department of Rehabilitation Services for vocational rehabilitation services and the Alabama Community College System (ACCS) for adult education (ABE) services. The network of 25 comprehensive Career Centers and 26 affiliate centers provides broad coverage in all 67 counties in Alabama. The State agencies overseeing Alabama’s WIOA core programs and optional partners not only share space and services throughout the Alabama Career Center System but also interact on a regular basis to share program opportunities to best deliver programs on a local and regional basis. The Alabama public workforce system has implemented a number of recent changes, including agency and program consolidation to ensure more efficient and comprehensive access to available services.
The Alabama Community College System (ACCS) consists of 24 community and technical colleges with more than 100 sites to deliver education and training for the citizens of Alabama. The ACCS has more than 150 Career and Technical Education credit programs that may lead to stackable short certificates, certificates, and associate degrees (with most having stackable, nationally recognized credentials as part of the program.) The ACCS works very closely with regional and local business and industry to support programs in high demand to meet capacity needs. The ACCS also has short term training programs at each of the colleges which target high demand and high wage careers on scheduled and on an “as needed or as required basis.” This type of training leads to nationally recognized credentials or licensing, and the curriculum provides a linkage for the individuals to potentially gain college credit should they choose to pursue additional training and education during their careers.