Two-year chancellor guest of BCMA

Published 2:07 pm Friday, February 20, 2009

While much of the economic news these days is gloomy, the Butler County Manufacturer’s Association got a more positive outlook from Bradley Byrne, the chancellor of Alabama’s two-year colleges, on Tuesday night.

Byrne said that America has faced tough economic times before and came through by becoming the most productive country on Earth with the most productive workers.

“There are opportunities now,” Byrne said. “There are going to be winners and losers among states and communities, and the trick is to be a winner.”

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One way to help Alabama’s economy comes through the community college system and incoming industry.

“Governor Riley and the economic development office have done an incredible job, but they haven’t done it alone. Local economic development has also strengthened communities,” Byrne said.

With new industries, such as Hyundai, ThyssenKrupp and perhaps a new branch of Boeing, comes the need for trained workers to fill the new jobs. And many of those jobs would come from the two-year college system.

“The two-year college system is the adult education provider for the state,” Byrne said. “It’s also a primary provider for workforce development.”

Byrne said they’ve trained workers for Boeing in Huntsville for their missile defense program and helicopter pilots in the Wiregrass, among other programs.

“This system is ready to respond. There is nothing we can not produce trained people for at the highest level,” he said. “We can be winners. Nothing is more important than helping the community become a winner in the new economy, and we’re proud to be a part of it.”