Alabama students are getting a boost to join the tourism industry. The state is preparing to spend $1 million to train future workers — at no cost to them.
The plan — announced by Governor Kay Ivey — targets up to 2,000 students across the state. They can attend online courses to obtain a special certification which will allow them to immediately enter the tourism workforce. The certification will be available through Alabama’s two-year college, Alabama Community College System, at more than 130 locations throughout the state. It was specifically developed by the Governor’s Office of Education in conjunction with the community college system. Anyone 16 and older is eligible to take part in the online tourism certification, and will not earn college credit for participating.
What’s Behind The Plan
Tourism is an important part of Alabama’s economy, bringing in close to $17 billion annually and employing more than 200,000 people. Tourism money took a sharp dive at the start of the pandemic in 2020, when travel was limited, forcing many businesses to shut down and lay off workers. In 2021, tourism rebounded, but not enough. Today, state tourism officials report higher tourism numbers, but not enough workers to keep up with increased demand. As a result, the tourism agency asked the state for money to help close the workforce gap. Leaders believe the money will help train new workers quickly and provide more opportunities for Alabamans.
You can find more information about the program here.