Secretary DeVos Visits Mobile Training Program

U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos visited Mobile, Alabama to observe the variety of learning pathways offered to students in the area. On her second stop in Mobile, DeVos was hosted by National Fund collaborative, The Southwest Alabama Workforce Development Council (SAWDC). SAWDC and Austal USA conducted a tour of the AIDT Martime Training Center where Secretary DeVos observed young adults weld, shape, and cut metal for shipbuilding projects. As part of the Maritime Industry Partnership, the AIDT Maritime Training Center prepares Alabama residents for careers in the region’s growing shipbuilding industry and good jobs at places like Austal USA. SAWDC supports the Maritime Industry Partnership by providing case management and client tracking at the Maritime Training Center, offering pre-employment coordination and client management, as well as operating post-employment tracking of Austal’s nationally certified A Class Journeyman Program. SAWDC also coordinates incumbent worker training programs, like the one DeVos observes during her visit, that helps entry-level craftsmen learn new skills and build a career and allows manufactures to “hire down and skill up.”


Delighted with the enthusiasm of the students and the validity of the partnership, DeVos recognized the critical role these middle-skills play not only in the region, but across the country:

“‘This is a fabulous opportunity for individuals to pursue their learning and education in a different environment and to get prepared for jobs that exist today,’ DeVos said. ‘We need to be highlighting more successful efforts and opportunities like this. The state of Alabama has done a tremendous job with focusing on workforce development and education and it’s just a pleasure to meet all of these individuals.'”