Betabox Skills on Wheels Learning Lab visiting Marengo County

Published 10:58 am Friday, February 4, 2022

The Marengo County School System has partnered with the University of West Alabama to bring the Skills on Wheels Learning Lab to Marengo County. Skills on Wheels consists of mobile units that travel across the Black Belt to help in workforce development and secondary education.

The lab units are part of LINCS (Leveraging Interconnected Networks for Change and Sustainability) which is a project to develop a rural regional workforce based on industry-recognized credentials and need in order to strengthen the economy and population in West Alabama. LINCS is comprised of a 10-county service area in the area known as the Black Belt. LINCS is funded by a $2.5 million grant from the U. S. Department of Labor and the Delta Regional Authority. Each unit is 23 feet long, nine feet tall and eight-and-a-half feet wide.

The purpose of LINCS is to increase the advanced manufacturing skills sets and employment in the region’s under-served 10 counties, which include: Sumter, Choctaw, Clarke, Greene, Hale, Marengo, Perry, Pickens, Washington and Wilcox. The region is covered by Alabama Regional Workforce Councils 3, 5 and 7.

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The project will implement three-LINCS approaches to address current identified gaps in the region’s workforce pipeline: 1) develop employer-driven curriculum and fast-track certificate programs; 2) recruit and place new entrants into the workforce and promote incumbent workers in order to retail and advance their positions; and 3) establish the Center for Rural Apprenticeships at the University of West Alabama.

LINCS is a long-term investment between education, economic development and individuals where each partner reaps multiple benefits. The program will be designed around customized economic and workforce curricula designed to meet the needs of regional employers with the goal of enriching regional economic development, job growth, expanded skills and employment and a higher level of livability.

K12 Instructional Leader Cathy Seale said students will learn how to build and operate a car as a group. At the end of the week, students will present their projects to their classes.

“We’re super excited about this, and I think it’s going to be great,” said Seale.

The lab will be visiting Marengo High School the week of Feb. 7, with Mr. Leon Walker leading the schedule for students in all his classes.  The week of March 14, the lab will be at Sweet Water with Mr. Ty Glass leading the schedule for students in all his classes. The week of March 21, the lab will be at A.L. Johnson with Ms. Camille White leading the schedule for students in her classes.