County Commission | The Magazine August 2018 - Page 38

of our university. My time as a commissioner enabled me to build a valuable network of contacts, which placed me in good stead to serve as a catalyst for community and workforce development initiatives in UWA’s market area. Q : What is UWA’s role in helping rural West Alabama to prosper? UWA has met the educational needs of generations of students from throughout rural Alabama and beyond for nearly 185 years. These students have celebrated great success in virtually every career and every walk of life. We believe that offering top- quality education and training can be achieved only if the educational opportunities we provide align with the needs of our communities and business and industry, both existing and prospective. With this in mind, we are continually developing partnerships and initiatives that equip our students with the knowledge and skills that ensure their success. We work diligently to develop educational opportunities that will allow students to thrive and have prosperous careers, and we place a strong emphasis on developing a workforce that will support existing industries and also recruit additional employers that will boost rural West Alabama’s economy. We are committed to continued innovation, collaboration, and transformation that will empower our communities to keep pace with changing technology and new challenges. As Sumter County’s largest employer, with 579 employees, we serve as the economic engine for West Alabama, having a $121 million economic impact statewide. Many of our programs, from degrees to certificates, have 100 percent job placement of students prior to graduation, which is an excellent indicator that we are providing our students with the knowledge, skills and ability to meet employers’ needs. Q : Anything else to add? I greatly value my years as a county commissioner, where I learned much, made great connections and friendships, and hopefully made a positive difference in the lives of those I was fortunate enough to serve. I have tremendous respect for and enjoyed working with the excellent leadership team of ACCA. I also greatly value the often thankless work of county commissioners and county employees, who tirelessly and selflessly, as UWA’s motto says, “Do Something That Matters.” n One free, easy call or online request gets member utilities marked AND helps protect you from injury and expense. Safe Digging Is No Accident: Contact 811 Before You Dig. 38 | COUNTY COMMISSION