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Workforce Development Highlighted at Tourism Summit

Updated: Apr 30, 2023

Gulf Shores / Orange Beach Tourism Summit was held on Thursday, April 20th at the Erie Meyer Civic Center in Gulf Shores. New to this year’s summit were presentations on workforce development solutions available to employers.

The Gateway Initiative team along with Dr. Josh Duplantis of Coastal Alabama Community College offered strategies for recruitment, retention, and improving company culture. Ed Bushaw presented information on recruitment strategies highlighting career pathing with specifics on salaries and benefits offered in South Baldwin businesses.

"Industry salaries and benefits are very strong in the local hospitality industry," said Bushaw. "Our job is to get this information to students, teachers, advisors, and parents."

The team also presented information on grants available to businesses to offer professional development training through Auburn University. In the area of recruitment, Tyler Morgan presented data on the current volume of applicants and employers posting on the South Baldwin job board - and encouraged employers to participate in the targeted, free opportunity to source candidates.

In the area of transportation for employees, Nolen Smith was on hand with Enterprise Connect - a national vanpooling system that is offering transportation options that reduce employee commute costs, lower emissions, and relieve congestion.

Dr. Duplantis did a deep dive into data trends affecting hiring and retention and offered solutions in these areas offered by Coastal through their apprenticeship model. This discussion was highlighted by Coastal receiving approval for the “first-in-the-nation” apprenticeship for registered nurses. Duplantis also highlighted two technical programs that have really taken off at their Foley campus in marine technology and building maintenance.


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