Lauderdale County officials ready to start on the Workforce Development Center

Lauderdale County leaders broke ground today on the new Workforce Development Center on Highway 72 after years of planning.
Published: Nov. 17, 2023 at 7:09 PM CST
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FLORENCE, Ala. (WAFF) -Lauderdale County leaders broke ground Friday on the new Workforce Development Center on Highway 72 after years of planning.

Ten years is how long Senator Tim Melson and his team have been working on these projects over on Highway 72.

“I’m excited about it. It’s been a long time,” Melson said.

From the Lauderdale County Agricultural Center to the Workforce Development Center that just had its official ground breaking today. Governor Kay Ivey was in attendance and helped kick the Workforce Development Center project off.

“The Lauderdale County Workforce Center will be a game changer in helping us close some of the leaks in our talent paid line by connecting pathways from high school to post secondary learning and to the workforce,” Governor Ivey said.

Governor Ivey included $3 million in the 2024 Education Trust Fund to build the Workforce Development Center. Overall, the project is estimated to cost around $26 million. It will be used for upper-level education programs...some University of North Alabama programs will make a home in the building. The Workforce Development Center will be on Highway 72 where officials are hoping to put the Agricultural Center as well.

“It’s time,” Melson said. “We need to have something in this area that they can utilize, call it their own and draw from other areas too as well.”

Melson said he was “dreaming big” while putting these projects together.

“There’s not many places that you have a high school program with a two year system and a four year system working together,” Melson said. “They can get dual enrollment. There will just be a lot of opportunities to get these kids well trained and the community working better.”

He said he is hopeful construction companies will start bidding to build the Agricultural Center within the next two to three months. Bids to build the innovation center for Lauderdale County Schools will be back in December.

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