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UWA first university in Alabama to become Registered Apprenticeship sponsor


Nationally recognized program will offer workforce development opportunities for students

LIVINGSTON—The University of West Alabama (UWA) is the first university in the state to be recognized by the Alabama Office of Apprenticeship as a Sponsor for Registered Apprenticeship programs according to a joint announcement from UWA and the Alabama Office of Apprenticeship along with employer partner, Alabama Pellets and Pinnacle Renewable Energy.

Registered Apprenticeships are nationally recognized and meet the rigors of federal standards that include, business involvement, on-the-job training, related instruction, a progressive wage scale, and industry-recognized credentials. In the role of a Sponsor, UWA will be responsible for the administration involved in maintaining this recognition as well as managing overall program operation.

“We are excited that UWA is now a registered apprenticeship sponsoring institution,” said UWA President Ken Tucker. “By entering this new partnership with the Alabama Office of Apprenticeship, along with our employer partner, Alabama Pellet and Pinnacle Renewable Energy, we are demonstrating our commitment to provide meaningful experiences that allow students to develop their skills necessary to transition successfully from the classroom to the workplace.”

“The Alabama Office of Apprenticeship is proud to support these innovative programs that demonstrate new strategies in workforce development,” stated Josh Laney, director of the Alabama Office of Apprenticeship.  “We hope that UWA’s sponsorship serves as a catalyst for modern apprenticeships as we continue to build Alabama’s competitive workforce and create accessible training opportunities for our residents.”

“Through partnerships with champion employers like Pinnacle Renewable Energy, apprenticeships are building pathways to advanced careers,” said Laney. “We are encouraged to see companies from around the world recognize the opportunities provided by partnering with Alabama’s outstanding educational institutions, like the University of West Alabama.”

“Pinnacle is proud to partner with UWA and other participants to make this a reality,” said Alabama Pellets General Manager Ritu Linhart. “Apprenticeships are a proven approach for preparing workers for jobs while meeting the needs of businesses for a highly skilled workforce. Employers benefit from increased retention, productivity, safety, and diversity, while apprentices are provided hands-on training at the job site on a pathway towards a career.”

UWA is establishing this sponsorship directly in line with Governor Ivey’s Success Plus Plan for 500,000 newly credentialed Alabamians by 2025. Through competency-based education and stackable credentials, UWA is demonstrating innovative leadership with their local partners in building viable talent pipelines and encouraging Alabama job seekers to enter these life-changing career pathways.

“This initiative provides tremendous flexibility for local business and industry partners and great opportunity for students to all be a part of a nationally-recognized program,” Laney explained. “UWA is a pioneer for institutions of higher education as they pave the way for the use of registered apprenticeships as an innovative workforce solution.”

“In our duty to serve our region, we actively seek creative opportunities to effectively prepare students for the industries that are here now and are expected to continue to flourish for many years,” Tucker said. “By doing this, we help build a stronger workforce, and we guide students to successful careers where they are equipped to meet the demands and earn the high wages they deserve.”

“Contributing to the creation of meaningful training and employment opportunities to further develop the skills of the workforce is a huge win for everyone involved,” said Dr. Tina Jones, vice president of UWA’s Division of Economic and Workforce Development. “Alabama Pellets has been actively involved as the champion company and first member of UWA’s Registered Apprenticeship initiative, and the Alabama Office of Apprenticeships has been our guiding force in making this effort a success.”

“UWA’s Division of Economic and Workforce Development has done a tremendous job of cultivating relationships, developing programs, and seeking funding for the initiatives that support the workforce component of higher education,” Tucker said. “We recognize that to strengthen our region, more than ever we must prepare students for the occupations that exist now, and will in the future, so they can plant their feet on the ground here in the Black Belt and maximize their potential while sustaining our region’s many assets and opportunities.”

 For additional information, contact the UWA Division of Economic and Workforce Development at 1-833-UWA-WORK or visit www.uwaworks.com.