Photo by Al Blanton
Speaker of the House Nathaniel Ledbetter announced on Monday key House members that will serve on an ad hoc committee studying Alabama’s labor force participation rates and identifying barriers to workforce entry:
“Alabama is witnessing record-breaking economic growth and historically low unemployment rates,” Ledbetter said. “Despite these numbers, in Alabama, there are roughly 140,000 job openings and, at the same time, 48,834 unemployed workers across our state. That means we are lacking nearly 100,000 workers over 16-years-old, which puts our labor force participation rate at a mere 57 percent—one of the lowest rates in the entire country.”
The House Members serving on the study commission will be Rep. Reed Ingram (R–Pike Road) – Chairman; Rep. Danny Garrett (R–Trussville); Rep. Donna Givens (R–Robersdale); Rep. Anthony Daniels (D–Huntsville); Rep. James Lomax (R–Huntsville); Rep. Barbara Drummond (D–Mobile); Rep. Mike Kirkland (R–Scottsboro); Rep. Bill Lamb (R–Tuscaloosa); Rep. Kelvin Lawrence (D–Hayneville); Rep. Curtis Travis (D–Tuscaloosa); Rep. Chris Pringle (R–Mobile); Rep. Matt Woods (R–Jasper); Rep. Wes Kitchens (R–Guntersville); Rep. Jim Carns (R– Birmingham); Rep. Scott Stadthagen (R–Hartselle).
“Labor force participation may be one of the biggest challenges we face not only in Alabama but across the country. We must find ways to help people enter the workforce by removing barriers creating career pathways that lead to good paying jobs. I am thankful to be a part of this study commission and look forward to working with my colleagues to address the situation,” said Rep. Matt Woods.
“Over the coming months, it will be imperative for this group to build on the progress of, and collaborate with, existing entities such as the Lt. Governor’s Commission on 21st Century Workforce, the Alabama Community College System, Alabama higher-education institutions, and essential stakeholders across the private sector,” stated Ledbetter.
Some specific areas the study commission will address are extending adequate childcare to families, examining the correlation between productivity growth and labor output, ensuring wages and salaries are competitive, addressing workforce housing concerns, and offering improved and more expansive mental health programs and services.