Governor Bob Riley today celebrated the grand opening of the newest weapon in Alabama’s economic development arsenal -- the Maritime Training Center, a one-of-a-kind facility that will provide company-specific job training to Alabama’s burgeoning shipbuilding industry.
Governor Riley’s vision for taking Alabama’s workforce development platform to the next level has included the construction of specialized, industry-specific training centers for growing industrial sectors, including the Maritime Training Center in Mobile. The $12 million, 60,000 square-foot facility will provide shipbuilding companies like C&G Boat Works, BAE Systems, Signal and Austal USA the space and resources to train workers to their unique specifications making them job-ready faster.
“The Maritime Training Center will help Alabama attract new industry, support the needs of existing businesses and train workers for careers in a growing sector,” said Governor Riley. “As our shipbuilding industry continues to expand, we will be able to meet its demand with a workforce highly skilled for maritime jobs.”
Alabama Industrial Development Training (AIDT), the state’s workforce training agency, will manage the state-of-the-art facility and teach workers ship building skills needed to work in Mobile’s growing maritime industry. The facility will offer instruction and real-world experience for everything from welding, fitting and crane operation to ship planning and shipyard supervision.
The grand opening ceremony comes as recent reports indicate the U.S. Navy is prepared to award Mobile’s Austal USA with a $5 billion contract for the construction of 10 warships. Company officials say landing this contract would double the number of jobs at its 1,800-worker shipyard.
“Over the last eight years, we’ve completely transformed how we do workforce development,” Governor Riley said. “We’ve made it into an efficient, streamlined job-training and recruitment tool that has been critical to attracting new industry and expanding existing businesses. Now we can take it to an even higher level with facilities like this that are unlike anything being offered in job training anywhere in the United States.”
AIDT Director Ed Castile said the Maritime Training Center will continue to set Alabama apart from other states in workforce development.
“The completion of this facility is a giant step forward in our path to transform our job training platform in Alabama,” Castile said. “The maritime industry requires specific training and typically companies are on their own to prepare their workers. Here we can partner with maritime companies and help meet their job training needs one worker at a time.”
Governor Riley has emphasized the need to increase workforce training efforts in the three expanding industry sectors: maritime, aviation/aerospace and robotics. A similar training center for robotics technology is located in North Alabama near Redstone Arsenal and an aviation/aerospace job training center is located in the Wiregrass near Fort Rucker.