The Education-Industry Link: Chilton County Industry Outreach

Weld

In Chilton County, leaders believe the relationship between education and industry is mutually beneficial. With a strong connection between the two, industry can find skilled workers and graduates can find satisfying jobs. With this in mind, County Extension Coordinator Gay West organized five industry outreach sessions, held throughout the county, to bring leaders in education, industry, and business together “to open the lines of communication between industry and education.”

The sessions featured speakers addressing a range of topics, including workforce development, business retention, human resources, health care, insurance, international trade, technical support, financial assistance, job training, marketing, and broadband. Sessions also provided ample time for networking among leaders. Education leaders learned how to prepare their students for existing jobs, recruited industry leaders to their boards, and placed outgoing students in internships. Industry leaders, all of whom already worked in Chilton County, had the opportunity to shape their future workforce, to collaborate with one another, and to learn about existing resources.

But there was a second purpose to the sessions as well. Though business retention is a touchstone of strong local economies, it is often overlooked by economic developers focused on industrial recruitment. Recognizing the vital role existing businesses play in Chilton County, West sought to “let industry know they’re appreciated and that they provide a great service to our county. We also want to know what industry leaders need from us to be successful.”

Last Updated: May 20, 2014