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The aerospace industry is one of the key clusters in Southwest Alabama, and includes several of the largest employers in the region. This cluster employs highly-skilled workers in the region who earn above average wages. The aerospace industry bolsters the Southwest Alabama regions reputation as a leader in high technology and innovation.

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The manufacturing cluster in Southwest Alabama includes a wide range of advanced manufacturing companies. Process manufacturers in the region include leading producers of steel, chemicals, and paper related products. The region's skilled workforce supports manufacturing which directly employs over 25,000 workers in Southwest Alabama.

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Southwest Alabama supports a major maritime cluster, spearheaded by its renowned shipbuilding industry. The Mobile Bay gives the region a natural advantage to propel and sustain this highly competitive cluster. The maritime cluster includes not only shipbuilding, but port activities and the economic activity generated by water transportation enterprises.

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Southwest Alabama is home to a vibrant health care community that includes not only health care providers but researches and educators as well. The healthcare industry is a stabilizing force in the regional labor market that can stay strong and expand employment throughout the economic cycle. The healthcare cluster provides world-class treatment for residents in Southwest Alabama while also providing challenging and rewarding jobs.

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In a growing region like Southwest Alabama, the construction sector provides key support in the expansion of the infrastructure. Construction employed approximately 17,000 workers in the region in 2010. It is expected to grow quickly, adding close to 3,000 additional jobs over the next ten years. The construction cluster is an important cog in Southwest Alabama's economy as it continues to expand in size and diversity.

2013 WoO Logo

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What does it take to have a successful future? That's the question that was asked of 9,300 area eighth graders on September 23rd and 24th at the sixth annual SAWDC Worlds of Opportunity Career Expo. At the 2015 event, public and private school students visited the Mobile Civic Center over the course of a two-day period for a hands-on, interactive career exploration experience led by business professionals from thirteen key South Alabama industries. The resounding message to students attending this event is that there are three ingredients to success: graduate from high school, remain drug free, and the lifestyle choices of today will have a direct impact on future success.

2015 SAWDC Worlds of Opportunity
in numbers....

  • 9,300 eighth grade students

  • 83 schools from 9 counties

  • 930 teachers, counselors, and parents

  • 186 sponsors, exhibitors, sponsors including

  • 155 Southwest Alabama companies

  • 793 volunteers

  • 84 community leaders and guests

SAWDC: Five Years of Engagement with the National Fund for Workforce Solutions

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SAWDC, one of thirty-two nationally designated National Fund for Workforce Solutions (NFWS) sites, has established four high quality workforce partnerships - a sound strategy modeled by NFWS for helping individuals obtain and advance in good careers while at the same time ensuring that employers have high-quality skills that are needed to compete in today's dynamic economy.  The four industry clusters - aviation, maritime, industrial construction/manufacturing, and healthcare - were chosen due to the high demand and high growth prospects for these industries.  With a dual customer approach, SAWDC convenes, organizes key stakeholders, and maintains persistent attention to the needs of the two main customers: employers and workers.  By engaging employers and other partners in identifying workforce needs, SAWDC aligns funding from various sources and brokers services that address the career advancement needs of employers and lower-skilled adults.

To read more, click here.

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