Wood Speaks On Working for Alabama Program

Published 10:00 am Saturday, March 23, 2024

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

With the Alabama legislative session over halfway over, Representative Debbie Wood updated the VTN on the bills introduced and laws passed so far. A program Wood highlighted is a legislative package called Working for Alabama that contains seven bills aimed at addressing workforce development in the state. The bills will have both democratic and republican sponsors. 

The package was introduced Thursday by Governor Kay Ivey and members of the Workforce Development Committee, which Wood is on. The seven bills include the following:

Childcare Tax Credit 

Email newsletter signup

“The first one is tax credits that will be given to businesses and industries that will build on-site daycare centers for their employees,” Wood said. “The reason we’re doing this is when we looked at barriers, we have about less than 60% of individuals who were able to work in our state. Part of that is the barriers that they face to get work. One of those is childcare.”

Wood said the expense of childcare often outweighs the amount earned at a job, hindering people from entering or returning to the workforce. According to the language in the bill, “despite historically low unemployment rates, Alabama’s workforce participation rate ranked among the lowest in the country.”

The bill proposes that childcare is one of the factors of the workforce participation rate. It would give employers an incentive to provide childcare services for their employees. This bill has been introduced in the House. If passed, it will move to the Senate. 

The Alabama Workforce Tax Credit

Similar to the childcare credit, the Alabama Workforce Tax Credit offers tax incentives aimed at increasing workforce participation. It is the second House bill in the package, although Wood is not a sponsor. 

This bill states that if passed, it would, “authorize and provide a tax credit for qualified taxpayers owning an interest in a qualified workforce housing project located in the State of Alabama.”

The bill is aimed at incentivizing the building of multi-family housing for low to middle-income workers. Both Tax Credit Acts focus on the barriers to entry to the workforce. 

The Alabama Workforce Pathways

This bill would establish the Alabama Workforce Pathways Act, expanding career and technical education throughout the state.  

In a press release, Lieutenant Governor Will Ainsworth said, “The graduates who do not enroll in college are an important target for the Working for Alabama package. For high school students who don’t plan to attend college, we need to give them the tools and opportunities to be successful without a four-year degree.”

The act would create a new high school diploma called the Workforce Pathways Diploma. The diploma would focus on “future career paths,” according to the bill’s language. It would also require the State Department of Education to develop the curriculum to earn the diploma as well as other credentialing and training programs.  


Chambers County’s representative in the state Senate, Randy Price, is a sponsor on all four of the Senate bills in the package, including the Alabama Growth Alliance Act, the Alabama Workforce Transformation Act, the Innovation District Act and its amendment bill.


Alabama Growth Alliance Act

The forming of a public-private partnership, the “Alabama Growth Alliance,” is proposed in the bill. Private businesses and corporations would be a part of creating the economic development strategy for the state. 

The bill states that the alliance would be a “public corporation governed by a board of public and private leaders.”

The job of the alliance would be to “coordinate the development, tracking, as well as providing input and support for the creation and maintenance of the state’s long-range economic development strategy, annual objectives and key tactics to achieve the long-range strategies.”

Alabama Workforce Transformation Act

This act will rename the Alabama Department of Labor to the Alabama Department of Workforce and consolidate other workforce development agencies under the department. The Secretary of Labor will head up the consolidated department and be appointed by a member of the governor’s cabinet.

If passed, the bill will “establish the Alabama Workforce Board as the State Workforce Development Board, to establish seven regional workforce boards, add responsibilities of the new department.”

Innovation District Act and Amendment

The Innovation District Act and the Innovation District Act Amendment are two separate bills. The IDA would establish local entities known as districts to “support certain economic development activities using public revenues.”

The bill would expand the taxes that can be used as incentives to companies and allow for partnerships between local governments to provide the incentives. The entities would be able to create incentive packages to attract businesses and industries.

Because the act would require an amendment to the state constitution, the amendment bill is also introduced. The bill would amend the constitution to allow for the incorporation of these innovation districts.