[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Alabama is about to be the first state to give a big boost to future manufacturers.

The governor announced new manufacturing credentials will be offered at every community college this spring.

“Knowing the jobs out there that are available and being able to do things I enjoy every day is a major plus,” said Heath Stockman, a student at Calhoun Community College and employee at Toyota.

For Stockman, knowing there’d be thousands of jobs waiting for him was part of the reason he went into manufacturing. The college’s new credentials to certify students in certain subjects means those job prospects are even higher.

“Not only does it allow me to get a good job, but it also allows me to have skills that I can have for the rest of my life,” Stockman said.

The industry employs over 13 percent of the state’s workforce, according to the National Association of Manufacturers. Reports indicate that number is on the rise.

The college’s technologies dean says more qualified workers makes the area more attractive to companies, which could mean an economic boost.

“They will have to have replacement workers and employees in there,” said John Holley. “We have to have the workforce if we’re gonna continue like we have with growth in Alabama.”

Holley says things are looking good for Alabama and for Stockman they’re looking pretty good too.

“In this job field you’re able to take it more than just in the job you’re working right now,” Stockman said. “It applies to so many things in life.”

Holley expects 600 students to take the tests to get certified by the end of next year. He says it’s something they wouldn’t have gotten to do at the school before.

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