TUSCALOOSA, AL, February 11, 2021 – A total of 66 educators from 7 different school systems graduated from West Alabama Works’ Educator Workforce Academy on Tuesday, February 9th. The school systems that were represented in this year’s class included Bibb County (13 grads), Fayette County (7 grads), Hale County (5 grads), Marengo County (1 grad), Pickens County (6 grads), Tuscaloosa County (15 grads), and Tuscaloosa City (19 grads).


The Educator Workforce Academy is a year-long training program for educators in West Alabama, designed to expose them to workforce development and our region’s industries. Established in 2017 by West Alabama Works, the Academy is designed to eliminate the disconnection between industry and education, giving our region’s students the best chance possible for future success in the workforce.


This graduation marks the completion of 4 training sessions that focus on showing educators the necessary skills their students need to become gainfully employed within area industries. Generally, 2 cohorts are taught during each annual class. With the addition of this year’s class, the Educator Workforce Academy has certified a total of 210 education professionals in all 9 counties in Region 3 since its inception in 2017.


Workforce Academy Graduates

Due to the pandemic, Project Manager Brittani Colburn needed to get creative with programing this year, but she is still confident of lasting positive effects. “It’s been amazing to see the transformation for these educators over the past year, especially given what has been happening in the world. Many of them had never visited a plant before. Now they know about the rich opportunities available in West Alabama and can take that information back to their students,” said West Alabama Works Project Manager Brittani Colburn. “Due to the pandemic, many of our students are anxious about what the future holds, so providing more resources to them through their teachers is so important.”

These are the Bibb County graduates: Lauren Barnes, Sheila Beam, Sloan Crim, Farrah Daniel, Adriane Dennis, Shea Essman, Wes Lawley, Kristina Mathews, Peggy McKay, Gabby Pringle, Alan Ray, Eric Rhine & Amy Vest. 

For the sake of community health and safety, the graduation ceremony became part of Region 3’s Workforce Council Quarterly Summit. Area educators who are interested in learning more about the program are encouraged to contact Brittani via brittani@tuscaloosa.com.


About West Alabama Works

West Alabama Works leads workforce development efforts throughout West Alabama. The regional workforce development system facilitates and implements a comprehensive, coordinated, seamless workforce development system for Region 3 and supports workforce training activities. With a mission to promote economic prosperity throughout West Alabama by providing support services to business and industry and job seekers, West Alabama Works serves as the region’s central hub for workforce development efforts and training.