New legislation aimed at career training

MOBILE, Ala. (WALA) – Organizers of a new program say it opens new educational opportunities for children, improves the economy, and gives taxpayers a break on their income tax.

So, what’s the new idea?

It’s called the Alabama Future Workforce Initiative.

DUAL ENROLLMENT

Rebecca Moore is practicing for Honors Day festivities Friday at Satsuma High School.

She’s graduating this year after participating in a dual enrollment program and earning college credit.

Moore said, “After I graduate, like three days after I graduate, I go to college at Bishop.”

She will study welding at Bishop State and has her summer mapped out.

Moore said, “I’ll be going to college for two months. I start May 19 and I graduate July 29th. I think I might want to go to Austal.”

TAXPAYER DONATIONS, TAX BREAKS

Austal was the site for a news conference Thursday where government and education leaders promoted a new scholarship program for high school students who want to train at two-year colleges to become welders or other types of skilled workers.

The initiative was passed by the Alabama State Legislature.

Bishop State President Dr. James Lowe said, “It affords our students an opportunity to segue into the workforce to help out with economic development, as well as themselves.”

The Alabama Future Workforce Initiative helps cover educational costs through taxpayer donations, but, donors would receive a tax break.

State Representative Alan Baker of Brewton said, “Individuals and businesses that donate to the scholarship fund will receive a state income tax credit of up to 50 percent of their total contribution.”

FIGHTING DROPOUT PROBLEM

The hope is that many students will take advantage of the program, not only to help beef up the work force, but also to stay in school.

What’s more, Baker said, “Keep in mind that the jobs that we are seeking to fill are good paying jobs in a sector where the average wage is $50,000 a year.”

The program also allows donors to direct up to 80 percent of their donation to a specific program at a particular school.

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