Josh Laney to head Alabama Office of Apprenticeship as skills program expands

Josh Laney to head Alabama Office of Apprenticeship as skills program expands
A trainee in an AIDT program practices welding. The new Alabama Office of Apprenticeship was created to boost the number of skilled workers in the Alabama workforce. (contributed)

Ed Castile, deputy secretary of the Alabama Department of Commerce and director of AIDT, announced that Josh Laney has been named director of the newly established Alabama Office of Apprenticeship (AOA) as the state moves to expand a program that elevates the skill levels of workers.

Josh Laney is the director of the newly established Alabama Office of Apprenticeship. (contributed)

In his new role, Laney will partner with industries and education providers across the state to develop and expand traditional and industry-recognized apprenticeships for youth and adults. He will also lead the AOA’s support of larger workforce development infrastructure for Alabama to identify and promote the recognition and use of valuable credentials.

Laney previously served as senior director for Workforce Development at the Alabama State Department of Education, where he supported local school system efforts to align the career technical training initiatives with workforce needs.

With more than 20 years of experience in education, Laney’s career path has taken him from the classroom to administrative leadership in junior high and high school settings before assuming the role of career technical director for Phenix City Schools in 2011.

Under Laney’s leadership, the AOA will expand Alabama’s registered apprenticeship opportunities, resulting in additional skilled employees in the workforce and increased economic activity for Alabama.

“The Alabama Office of Apprenticeship is a game changer. Having someone like Josh who is passionate about education and dedicated to the growth and preparedness of our workforce is a home run for Alabama,” said Castile, who heads the Commerce Department’s Workforce Development Division.

Meeting demands

The establishment of the Alabama Office of Apprenticeship represents another step in Alabama’s strategic efforts to develop a comprehensive workforce system. Apprenticeship programs allow the state to meet the current and future demands of business and industry, while also creating greater opportunities for Alabamians.

Registered apprenticeship programs are innovative work-based learning opportunities that rely on business involvement and provide on-the-job training while also providing wages from employers during training.

Apprenticeship sponsors develop highly skilled employees, while reducing turnover rates and increasing productivity.

Alabama has five industry-focused sectors for apprenticeships:  health care, construction and carpentry, information technology, distribution/transportation and logistics, and advance manufacturing.

“The success of Apprenticeship Alabama over the last few years made us realize that we needed to go bigger,” Castile said. “With Josh’s extensive background in workforce development and education, it was a natural fit.”

Laney’s appointment follows the passage of Senate Bill 295, sponsored by Sen. Arthur Orr, which not only established the Alabama Office of Apprenticeship but also expanded the Apprenticeship Alabama Tax Credit from $1,000 to $1,250.

The legislation also increased the number of apprentices one employer may claim from five to 10, as well as the tax credit cap from $3 million to $7.5 million, and established the Alabama Apprenticeship Council.

The AOA will serve as the registration agency for all registered apprenticeships in the state of Alabama.

This story originally appeared on the Alabama Department of Commerce’s Made in Alabama website.

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