NORTH ALABAMA (WHNT) — Four schools across North Alabama are officially launching modern manufacturing programs to better prepare their students.

According to officials, manufacturing is a leading industry sector in the state, and put a major emphasis on the importance of preparing students to enter the field, saying it’s essential for the state’s economy.

Industry representatives and school leaders, in partnership with North AlabamaWorks, gathered Wednesday morning at the Alabama Robotics Technology Park to officially launch the modern manufacturing program.

The four pilot programs will be at Guntersville High School, Hartselle High School, Limestone County Career Technical Center and the Madison County Career Technical Center.

Stephanie McCulloch, Executive Director for North AlabamaWorks, says the program will give students hands-on training that prepares them for direct entry into the industry or further training.

“We’re really excited about that; we need more pathways into these automotive fields,” McCulloch says. “We say a lot about automotive because that’s the way we got the grant – but it’s for any manufacturer. These same standards apply to most any manufacturing jobs.”

Officials say that as the program develops; it will be offered for expansion into additional North Alabama schools.

Aligned with industry standards, the Modern Manufacturing program immerses high school students in hands-on training that prepares them for direct entry into industry or further training. 

Students can earn multiple industry certifications in high school while also learning employability skills like teamwork and punctuality. Modern Manufacturing students may opt to enroll in industry-led community college programs, and others will immediately enter the workforce.

For more information on the programs, you can visit North AlabamaWorks website here.