The government says some 20 million Americans are still unemployed or under-employed— meaning they can’t get as much work as they’d like or need. Yet at the same time, firms nationwide say they’re having a difficult time filling millions of openings they do have. It’s partly because of what’s known as the “skills gap” — jobs that require more expertise than workers have.
The State of Alabama has a possible solution. It’s a program called Alabama Industrial Development and Training. Local shipyard owners say they can’t find enough skilled workers around here who know how to do the things they need, to weld properly, to fit pipes. And so the State of Alabama spent twelve million dollars to build a state of the art maritime training center. The idea is that if the shipyards can’t find enough workers to manufacture the ships, the State of Alabama is going to manufacture the workers. Rick Karr went to Mobile to take a look at the program and assess its outcomes — which some critics say aren’t all they should be.