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Governor Ivey signs 'Working for Alabama' legislative package into Law

On Thursday, Alabama Governor Kay Ivey (R) signed the "Working for Alabama" legislative package into law. This package of bills is aimed at luring more Alabamians into the workforce and getting more Alabamians better trained to fill the positions that Alabama employers need. The state hopes that it can fill more of the job that the state has lured through Alabama's economic development efforts.

Governor Ivey was joined at Thursday's bill signing ceremony by Lieutenant Governor Will Ainsworth (R), Senate President Pro Tem Greg Reed (R-Jasper), Speaker of the House Nathaniel Ledbetter (R-Rainsville), Senate Minority Leader Bobby Singleton (D-Greensboro), House Minority Leader Anthony Daniels (D-Huntsville) and BCA President Helena Duncan.

The bipartisan, six-bill package aims to streamline and make more efficient and effective the state's efforts and strategies in these respective areas.

"Our state leaders over the past few years have taken up several ambitious challenges to address Alabama's top areas of need," said Gov. Ivey. "And the results are paying out in dividends. From broadband to infrastructure to The Game Plan we passed last year and now, Working for Alabama, we have come together to put Alabama first and have paved the way for a stronger economy and a better quality of life for all Alabamians."

Alabama's labor force participation rate is 47th in the nation. Nearly half of the state's working-age individuals are neither employed nor seeking jobs.

"Growing Alabama's economy and creating more long-lasting, high-paying, 21st century jobs ranks high among my top priorities," said Lt. Gov. Ainsworth. "That is why I created the Lieutenant Governor's Commission on 21st Century Workforce and asked members of the legislature and business community to work together in identifying our biggest obstacles and finding workable solutions. Signing the Working for Alabama package into law, represents a strong step toward more jobs, opportunities and prosperity for everyone who calls our state home."

One area of need identified by the study group on labor force participation rate is the availability of affordable childcare, which serves as a barrier to entry for thousands of Alabamians.

"Alabama's economy is growing at a historic pace, but that doesn't mean we can hang our hats on yesterday's success – we have to keep pushing forward," said Speaker Ledbetter. "The Working for Alabama package is the result of state leaders being keenly aware of what's standing between Alabama and its full potential. The House Labor Shortage Study Group identified the lack of affordable childcare and housing as two of the most prevalent barriers keeping Alabamians sidelined from the workforce. I have no doubt that our action on these two issues, as well as the other key areas of this package, will help Alabama families and our economy thrive like never before."

Reed said that the state needs to streamline its strategies to better compete against other states in economic development and job recruitment.

"Our state has positioned itself to be a national economic and workforce development leader for years to come," said Pro Tem Reed. "The investment made by the legislation passed in the Working for Alabama package will pay huge dividends for Alabamians, and we are proud of work done to maximize our efforts to incentivize businesses and industry to choose Alabama. Because of the investments and resources outlined in this legislative package, families and businesses across our state will grow and thrive and Alabama will remain the best place to call home."

Singleton echoed Reed and said part of making the state more competitive is ensuring that our rural areas are successful.

"The Working for Alabama package didn't just happen overnight, this took bipartisan efforts in both chambers of the Legislature addressing some of our state's top vulnerabilities," said state Sen. Singleton. "I'm proud of the way we worked together to make this happen. A particular focus of mine throughout this process has been to make sure the rural areas of our state are given the support they need. Working for Alabama will make key investments into some of our state's communities in the most need of support."

Minority Leader Daniels said the package is a big win for Alabama and will touch the lives of thousands of Alabama families.

"Working for Alabama is an example of how the Legislature – both Republicans and Democrats – can come together and get real results that make our state a better place to live, work and raise a family," said Rep. Daniels. "I was proud to carry the child care tax credit bill with my colleague Senator Garlan Gudger – that will touch the lives of thousands of Alabama families. Working for Alabama is a big win for our state, and it is great to see it make it to the finish line."

BCA President Duncan said, "In order to attract and grow 21st century jobs, Alabama must have a 21st century approach to economic and workforce development. This package creates a job-ready workforce by helping Alabamians identify their skills, talents, and goals and provides the tools necessary to cultivate and hone them. Working for Alabama was the result of a team effort that included Gov. Kay Ivey, Lt. Gov. Will Ainsworth, legislative leadership, and our committed corporate partners like Alabama Power, who took the lead in making that vision a reality. This effort, and the hope and promise it represents, demonstrates that when Alabamians work together, we can overcome any obstacle, meet any goal and create a better future for citizens across our state."

The Legislation signed today includes the Alabama Workforce Transformation Act, the Alabama Growth Alliance Act, the Alabama Career Pathways Act, the Childcare Tax Credit, the Housing Tax Credit and legislation to create research and development corridors.

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