West Alabama Works coordinating prisoner workforce training program

West Alabama Works coordinating prisoner workforce training program

BIBB COUNTY, AL (WBRC) - A workforce development group in West Alabama is coordinating a new effort, in hopes of addressing two serious problems: recently released prisoners in need of employment, and shortages in the local workforce.

West Alabama Works is coordinating a group of people from industry, law enforcement, churches, education and more to start a new workforce training program at the Bibb County Correctional Facility.

The goal is to train prisoners, before they are released, for in-demand jobs in West Alabama. Workforce leaders say there are as many as 4,000 new jobs coming available in the area in the next few years. Not only does the group have to address the issue of getting the training program in place, but also encouraging employers to hire recently released prisoners.

"How do you overcome those barriers of training in the prison system?" West Alabama Works Executive Director Donny Jones said.

"But also, how to you educate employers on the benefits and the opportunities that there are of hiring those who have been released?"

"We've got to find a way to make employers and industry feel comfortable with giving second chances," McAbee Construction President & Chief Operating Officer Gary Nichols said.

The group hopes to get the program up and running in January.

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