Alabama’s Department of Human Resources sponsors three initiatives aimed at tackling employment, childcare, and recidivism, facilitated by the state’s community and technical colleges. 

On Tuesday, April 23, the Alabama DHR unveiled the Summer Youth Employment Program, Child Care Training Program, and Transition to Employment Program at Trenholm State Community College. These initiatives are geared towards boosting Alabama’s workforce participation and decreasing reliance on state financial aid. The Summer Youth Employment Program enables colleges within the Alabama Community College System (ACCS) to hire current, former, and prospective students aged 16 to 24 for summer jobs and training. Targeting families with incomes at or below 200% of the poverty level, the program focuses on enhancing the skills of participating students.  

Alabama’s Adult Education Division at ACCS offers the Child Care Training program, equipping individuals aspiring to work in childcare with essential skills to pursue viable career opportunities in the field. The Transition to Employment program, the latest addition, links formerly incarcerated individuals to stable employment opportunities with the support of a network of employers. These employers are motivated to provide employment opportunities for individuals to utilize the credentials they obtained through Ingram State Technical College, the state’s primary provider of prison education.  

DHR’s aim is to assist individuals in need, enabling them to discover opportunities and training that empower them to break free from dependency cycles and steer their lives in new directions. The Alabama Community College System is dedicated to offering opportunities that extend beyond the confines of the classroom, and to collaboration with committed advocates for education and resident success, like DHR, is what makes this possible.   

Here is a little history on how this came about. Established on May 3, 1963, Alabama’s community and technical colleges were consolidated into a single system by legislators, with the aim of providing accessible education and training in both academic and vocational fields to meet the state’s present and future workforce demands. Over the span of sixty years, this core mission remains central to the Alabama Community College System (ACCS). With 24 colleges spread across more than 130 locations and boasting an economic impact of $6.6 billion, the ACCS stands as Alabama’s premier platform for affordable education and technical training, essential for thriving in an ever-changing job market. Approximately 155,000 Alabamians benefit from a diverse array of certification, credential, dual enrollment, and degree programs offered by the ACCS, often developed in collaboration with key industry partners. The system encompasses vital entities such as the Alabama Technology Network, delivering specialized training and services directly to businesses, and the ACCS Innovation Center, renowned for its Skills for Success program, which offers rapid skills enhancement. Oversight of the ACCS is entrusted to the Alabama Community College System Board of Trustees. 

The Alabama Department of Human Resources is dedicated to serving over 1.4 million Alabamians annually through its six major programs. Originating as the Department of Child Welfare in 1919, established by the Legislature to support at-risk children and families, it expanded its role during the Great Depression of 1933 to include administering financial assistance to struggling individuals. Following the enactment of the Social Security Act in 1935, the department and most of its functions transitioned to the newly formed Department of Public Welfare. Renamed as the Department of Pensions and Security in 1955, it eventually adopted its current name in 1986.  

While programs have evolved to meet Alabama’s changing needs, the agency’s core mission remains steadfast: to aid those in need.