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Month: February 2016

Work Based Learning Success Story

  • February 29th, 2016

JoMorris Law and his sister, Virginia Law, were visiting the Jackson Career Center in Clarke County when they were interviewed by Career Center staff to determine if they met the requirements for the Work Based Learning (WBL) program. Both were food stamp recipients lacking work history living in a poor rural area (Coffeeville).

JoMorris had taken some night welding courses at Alabama Southern Community College, but was not interested in enrolling full-time in the welding program (Industrial Training Authority). His goal was to gain employment in the welding field. Virginia also was interested in gaining employment in a position working with others.

Both were scheduled to take the Test of Adult Basic Education (TABE). TABE results indicated JoMorris was basic skills proficient, but Virginia was basic skills deficient. JoMorris was referred to Sheila Thompson, Business Services Representative, for possible WBL placement and Virginia was referred to the Alabama Southern Community College Adult Education Program. Since Alabama Southern Community College (ASCC) Adult Education, Coffeeville site, was closed for the Christmas holidays, staff gave Virginia math and reading remediation information for her to study on her own and then re take the TABE.

Ms. Thompson had been conducting meetings with several employers regarding WBL, with positive responses. Jackson Metalworks, Inc., a metal machine shop in Jackson, AL, was one of those employers, and the ideal worksite in light of JoMorris’s desire to enter the welding profession. Jackson Metalworks has been an excellent employer in the On the Job Training (OJT) program, and has trained and subsequently employed eight Machinists and Welders over the past two years. Several of these OJT participants have either been promoted to supervisory positions or offered jobs elsewhere making in excess of $25.00 per hour. Jackson Metalworks trains these participants and gives the work experience required by most industrial employers.

Ms. Thompson called Ricky Milstead, the owner of Jackson Metalworks, and asked if he would be interested in JoMorris for WBL. Jackson Metalworks already had one WBL participant. Mr. Milstead interviewed JoMorris and was impressed with his humble attitude and courteous nature. Mr. Milstead offered a WBL Internship to JoMorris in the position of a Machine Shop Attendant, and said if JoMorris showed interest, dependability and a good work ethic, he would then like to offer him OJT in the position of a Welder. JoMorris began his internship on November 19, 2015.

On December 4, 2015, Mr. Milstead told Ms. Thompson during a phone conversation that, in his opinion, JoMorris was a SUPERSTAR! Mr. Milstead said he was very pleased with JoMorris’s performance thus far and that he wished he had a dozen more like him. Throughout the internship, all follow-ups with the employer were positive in regards to JoMorris. Ms. Thompson relayed this to JoMorris and encouraged him to keep up the good work. She continued to remind him that performance during the internship would be the deciding factor in being offered an OJT contract upon completion of the 390 hours.

On January 21, 2016, at the request of the employer, a request was made and approval was given for Jackson Metalworks to train JoMorris in the positon of Welder. JoMorris was scheduled to complete the 390 hours of WBL on February 3, 2016. Ms. Thompson received a phone call from JoMorris at the end of his work day. “Ms. Sheila! I got the job! I just wanted to call and say thank you so much for giving me this opportunity.” JoMorris will be trained as a Welder at the hourly rate of $11.00.
JoMorris’s sister Virginia was retested, but still needed remediation. Because of the success of her brother JoMorris, a request was made to allow Virginia to be referred to Ms. Thompson for possible WBL placement.

Ms. Thompson contacted The Arc of Clarke County (TARCC), which is a non-profit membership organization dedicated to providing services and advocating for persons with intellectual disabilities in Clarke County, who had an open job order for a Life Coach. Virginia had expressed an interest in working with and helping people. Ms. Thompson contacted TARCC, who interviewed Virginia. Virginia began her work experience at TARCC Monday, January 25, 2016. At the end of her first day at work, Virginia came to the Career Center and reported that she loved it! Ms. Thompson met with Virginia’s supervisor following Virginia’s second day of work, who said Virginia that was doing a wonderful job and that she thought she was going to work out great!

Since placing Virginia at The ARC as a Life Coach, ASCC has opened an Adult Education site at the Career Center. Virginia has been referred and will work on her math and reading skills after she gets off of work on Mondays and Wednesdays.
The WBL program has been life changing for this family. JoMorris has gained full-time employment going from $7.25 per hour to $11.00 per hour with benefits. Virginia is still working as a WBL participant, and if things continue to go well, TARCC will employ Virginia full-time as a Life Coach making $8.00 an hour.

Read the WBL Press Release

ADOL Releases More than $85 Million in Tax Credits to Employers

  • February 29th, 2016

MONTGOMERY – Alabama Department of Labor Commissioner Fitzgerald Washington announced today that nearly 33,000 Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC) certifications, representing a potential $85,932,400 in tax credits, have been released in January by the Department to participating employers due to Congressional re-authorization of the WOTC program.

The WOTC program is a federally-funded program that provides incentives to businesses to hire individuals who have historically faced barriers to employment. Examples of WOTC eligible employees include: Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) recipients, Food Stamp recipients, youth, ex-felons, Supplemental Security Income recipients, Veterans, and those with disabilities, among others. Read More

Alabama House approves state income tax credit for small businesses

  • February 10th, 2016

The Alabama House of Representatives on Tuesday approved new legislation sponsored by State Rep. Kyle South, R – Fayette, that would provide a state income tax credit to small businesses for each new employee they hire.

The bill is included in the House Republican Caucus’s “Right for Alabama” legislative agenda that was announced prior to the session’s start, according to a release from the office of House Speaker Mike Hubbard.

“Over the last 20 years, small businesses have created more than 65 percent of all new jobs in our nation, but Alabama and other states have focused almost exclusively on providing incentives to industries and large employers,” South said. “By passing my bill, the Legislature can send the strong message that we care about small business owners and employees and understand and value the important role they play in Alabama’s economy.”
Under the new legislation, small businesses with 75 employees or less will be able to claim a $1,500 tax credit for each qualified, new, full-time employee hired.

The business may also claim an additional $1,000 tax credit if the new employee is an unemployed veteran recently returned from deployment. This credit comes as part of the Heroes for Hire Act passed by the legislature in 2012.
To qualify for the credit, businesses must retain the new employee for a consecutive 12-month period, and the employee must earn a salary of $40,000 a year or more. The employee must also be an Alabama resident in order to ensure that the credits are being used on behalf of Alabamians.

South said the state can now offer these credits with little or no loss of state budget dollars because the income taxes that these previously unemployed workers will begin to pay will offset the cost of providing the tax credit.
“Through whichever prism you view it, this bill is a win for small business owners, it’s a win for the newly-hired and their families, and it’s a win for the state,” South said.

To view the original article from the Birmingham Business Journal, click here.