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For Immediate Release: February 24, 2020

1st Worlds of Work event held for Marshall County 8th graders

More than 1,000 students from across Marshall County met on the campuses of the Albertville City Schools for the North AlabamaWorks Worlds of Work (WOW) career expo.

The night before the expo, Albertville High School hosted the Worlds of Work Community Night in which all of Marshall County residents were invited to attend. To kick-off the night, keynote speaker and Alabama Lt. Gov. Will Ainsworth said he believes every person has a “God-given” ability and a passion in life, and he said part of the purpose of education is to help students identify those two things.

“What is the No. 1 factor for success?” he asked.

To answer that question, he said some people might say talent, IQ, potential or hard working, but he believes in the “concept of grit.” He said grit is a “more successful indicator of future earnings or happiness than either IQ or raw talent.”

He told the story of how through grit, his father, Billy, climbed from a

child who was told he “wasn’t smart enough” to an adult who founded a successful business, that started with only two people but now employs thousands — Progress Rail. He said his father’s journey was “the definition of grit.” He explained grit as “the passion, resilience, determination and focus that allows a person to maintain discipline and optimism to persevere in the face of adversity, rejection and lack of visual progress sometimes for weeks, years and even decades.”

For another example, Ainsworth said a study was conducted with students competing in a spelling bee. He said the study showed that contestants who exhibited grit by studying more frequently and for longer periods of time succeeded more than the ones who exhibited a naturally higher IQ.

“To be successful, you have to work hard,” Ainsworth said. “Don’t let anybody outwork you. Make sure that you are known for outworking everyone.”

He told students to stay committed to their goals and persevere through struggles and failures. He said finding a passion is “really important” to him. He said not to be afraid to take a risk and believe that failure is not the end.

Since taking office, Ainsworth said workforce development has been at the top of the governor’s priority list.

“Our No. 1 goal is for us to lead the country on workforce development and getting students job-ready and for them to be ready for the 21st century workforce,” he said. “We need to meet the needs of industry, and we’re working to do that … and for the first time in a while it’s a priority.”

Since the economy is doing well, he said he is pushing to get more funding for workforce development programs — including WOW and similar programs. He also aims to get more career coaches in schools, a new talent initiative project that would recruit people to Alabama, an online database to connect public with companies by listing all internships available in one place, an apprenticeship program and mobile career centers.

Sen. Clay Scofield said the delegation is excited to support WOW. He said home-grown companies and hard-working people are what makes Marshall County stand out among the state. He said workforce development is now a top-priority for the legislature.

“Unless we have interested students, it’s all for naught,” Scofield said. “I can’t stress the importance of Worlds of Work and programs like it enough. It’s highly important that industry and our business community communicates with our education system. Bring students in and show them what jobs are available right here in Marshall County … and the training they need is right here at home … that’s powerful.

“You can be any daggum thing you want, and that’s what makes this country great,” he added.

North AlabamaWorks Executive Director Micah Bullard said the State of Alabama would need more than 500,000 new jobs by 2025. He said North Alabama’s part would be at least 125,000, because it has one-quarter of the population of the state and 35% growth.

“If we’re ever going to grow a workforce, we have to start somewhere,” Bullard said. “For Alabama to get where it wants to be, we can’t keep up the status quo. We’ve got to train people up in these high-paid, high-demand jobs.”

According to Bullard, the North AlabamaWorks had $3.5 million to help students get an education in the trades, but for the first time, the group ran out of funds in January. He said the legislature then awarded $1 million to the group for it to continue its work.

“This region is setting goals and accomplishing things that’s not happening anywhere else in the State of Alabama,” Bullard said.

North AlabamaWorks Assistant Director Stephanie McCulloch said the event had more than 50 exhibitors to allow students to see what is made in Marshall County and what jobs are available in the county. Some of the types of business featured at the expo included, transportation, logistics, public service, construction, manufacturing, utilities, agriculture, cyber, information technology, health care, personal and professional services, hospitality and tourism.

Albertville City Schools Superintendent Boyd English said he was excited to see eighth grade students get to explore careers and industries available in Marshall County.

“I think the timing is perfect, because our eighth graders — they’re able to see and explore, and then they development their four-year plan as they get ready to enter high school,” English said. “I think this is a perfect time for them to be able to explore different careers and maybe make a better decision on what their four-year plan will be.”

For More Information Contact: Marshall County Legislative Office, 256-582-0619

For More Information Visit This Website: Students welcomed to Worlds of Work | Ainsworth encourages students to find passion for career

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