A year later, the Skills for Success Quick Training is showing results

More than 2,200 Alabamaans have signed up for Skills for Success, the rapid workforce training program launched a year ago by the Alabama Community College System Innovation Center.

Skills for Success is offered at no cost to participants thanks to government funding that allows for the development and rollout of training nationwide. Current training courses prepare Alabamaans for in-demand jobs in industries ranging from construction and fiber optics to trucking and food and beverage services.

“Skills for Success gives Alabamians the education they need to quickly secure good jobs and advancement,” said Jimmy H. Baker, Chancellor of the Alabama Community College System. “This means more Alabamaans will have opportunities to thrive in our state’s economy and Alabama businesses will find more skilled workers they desperately need.”

A unique feature of Skills for Success is how quickly the training can be completed. Most students were able to complete the training in about 2-3 weeks.

Brian Haynes, a student trained to work as a heavy equipment operator, said the fast course is ideal “for busy people like me”.

“It’s short,” Haynes said, “so it allows us to get the essential training we need to enter the job market and we can hit the ground running.”

One reason the training can be completed so quickly is that it is delivered partially online, with self-paced, interactive learning that can take place anywhere a student can connect to the internet. Upon completion of the online portion of the course, students undertake hands-on training with qualified instructors at one of 24 community and technical colleges across the state.

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The Innovation Center, a division of the Alabama Community College System, works with the state’s businesses, industries and communities to develop the Skills for Success courses. These partnerships ensure training matches the skills employers say workers need to fill available positions, said Julie Frizzell, director of the innovation center.

“In our first year, around 200 employers worked with us to train their new employees or upskill their existing employees,” said Frizzell. “The demand for this rapid training has been incredible and shows how much it is needed for both workers and employers.”

Alabama business and industry leaders agree.

“The biggest challenge for most companies right now is finding and retaining skilled workers. The Skills for Success training, developed in conjunction with industry partners, is the most innovative in the nation,” said Chris Stricklin, chief technology officer at Dunn Companies.

“This training gives people the opportunity to expand their skills and make them an integral part of their communities,” said Rosemary Elebash, state director of the National Federation of Independent Business.

“Even before the pandemic, there were always human resource challenges in our industry,” said Mark Colson, President/CEO of the Alabama Trucking Association. “The Innovation Center offering this new curriculum offers a lot of flexibility for adults to access training on their own time, so they can spend more time behind the wheel.”

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Most of the Skills for Success courses offered to date have focused on commercial driver’s licenses and heavy equipment operations. New training courses for occupations in fiber optics, domestic plumbing, meat cutting and hotel operations will begin soon, and more courses are being developed, Frizzell said.

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Visit innovation.accs.edu online for more information and a list of current course offerings.