Fort Payne Town Schools and State Officials Hold Groundbreaking Ground for Vocational Training Center

FORT PAYNE – Local and state officials joined schools in the city of Fort Payne to launch the school system’s new BEAT (Building, Electric, and Aviation Technology) center.

The BEAT Center will offer vocational training to students interested in construction, electric vehicles and aircraft technology.

Construction of the new BEAT center is being funded by a $ 1 million grant from the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC), as well as local matching funds. Governor Kay Ivey (R-AL), as ARC’s public partner, supported the school system’s grant application.

Ivey described the state’s efforts to meet the needs of in-demand career fields and touted the impact the BEAT Center will have on Alabama’s future workforce.

“Over the past five years we’ve created some 44,000 jobs, we’ve seen nearly $ 19 billion invested in new capital and the BEAT Center is just going to support all of these efforts through job training,” Ivey said. . “The pandemic highlighted what we already knew – construction, electric vehicles and aircraft technology are booming fields. I’m happy to know that we provide hands-on exposure for our students to have the opportunity to choose one of these career paths for themselves.

“Here in 2020, Alabama has seen projects worth more than $ 4 billion in the automotive, aerospace and forest products sectors, among others,” she added. “These key areas, and the students being trained here at Fort Payne, will be critical in ensuring our state remains on the upward trajectory for years to come. As a former educator, nothing is more exciting than the continued investment in our next generation and ensuring that they are ready to step up when it is their turn to lead.

State Superintendent of Education Eric Mackey praised state and local leaders for their commitment to providing workforce training opportunities to students in Alabama.

“It’s about getting more students involved in their studies and in ways where they can have good paying jobs and stay here in Alabama,” Mackey said, thanking Ivey and local officials for prioritizing workforce development. “Thank you for setting our vision for a future high-tech STEM-based economy for us. It is the students who are going to take these jobs and ensure that we take Alabama into the next decade by going further. “

State Senator Steve Livingston (R-Scottsboro) and House Majority Leader Nathaniel Ledbetter (R-Rainsville) praised the BEAT Center and the efforts of local leaders to ensure the project.

“We all know the importance of workforce development and career preparation,” said Livingston. “I congratulate the schools in the town of Fort Payne for the advancements you have made in the area of ​​career technology. Schools in the city of Fort Payne continue to be at the forefront of this technological and educational transit and you can see what surrounds us here today.

“I really believe this is a game changer for our region,” Ledbetter said. “You know, too often today we think that if you want to go to school, you have to have a doctorate or a four-year degree. In DeKalb County, I think a certified electrician and plumber can make more money than a lawyer. To see Fort Payne take the lead and create professional training that will be important to our future is great.

Dylan Smith is a writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @DylanSmithAL

Milton S. Rodgers

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