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West Alabama Works, in conjunction with its Partnerships for Opportunity and Workforce and Economic Revitalization (POWER) grants, is donating $389,440 to the Tuscaloosa County School system today.

The donation, awarded by the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC), will benefit career technical education (CTE) at Brookwood High School. West Alabama Works is powered by the Chamber of Commerce of West Alabama and, according to its mission statement, seeks to partner with "industries, schools, nonprofit organizations and service providers to put West Alabamians to work."

A check was presented to the Tuscaloosa County School System during a ceremony at Brookwood High School's Career Tech Annex earlier this afternoon.

“Career technical education is the basis for our workforce pipeline, giving West Alabama’s students the best possible chance at success by training them in in-demand fields while in high school,” Donny Jones, Chamber of Commerce of West Alabama's Chief Operating Officer and West Alabama Works Executive Director, said in the release.

According to the release, career technical education is "no longer the days of shop." In a region that excels in the automotive, steel, mechanical and construction industries, West Alabama finds many of its employees through career technical education programs. These jobs are often the highest-paying professions in a given area and students learn those foundational skills through CTE classes. Graduation rates are at over 90% for CTE students, and those pupils leave high school career-ready.

"The ARC has awarded West Alabama Works two POWER grants, with 2019’s $1.25 million funding focusing on career pathways," the release stated. "CTE is a cornerstone of career pathways, helping prepare the region’s workforce by offering state-of-the-art training in high school."

At Brookwood, students can choose from CTE classes like modern manufacturing, automotive technology, healthcare, hospitality and more. For more information on the program, follow them on Twitter at @CareerModeBama.