Business executive Terry Waters spearheads workforce development efforts

Terry Waters, who spent nearly four decades at Alabama Power Co., knows that economic development success and a competent workforce are firmly linked. After all, it’s in his job description.

Since November, Waters has been serving as senior executive director for workforce and economic development for the Alabama Department of Postsecondary Education. In his role at the department, he leads the System’s efforts to promote economic development throughout the state and to develop a pool of workers with the skills necessary to perform in highly technical and demanding jobs.

“The existence of a qualified pool of workers is near the top of the list in terms of priorities companies are evaluating when they are selecting a site location for a new plant or expansion,” Waters said in an interview with Business Alabama magazine. Read the story here.

Waters is already at work to make sure the Alabama Community College System’s workforce development programs and initiatives are delivering those workers. For one thing, he intends to strengthen partnerships with other organizations and agencies to help support the state’s Accelerate Alabama strategic economic development growth plan.

He also thinks it’s important to expand scholarships for career and technical dual enrollment programs that allow high school students to get a jump start in their careers at an ACCS college. Additional funding for those scholarships is a system budget priority.

 “As our national and state economies continue to emerge from the recession, it’s imperative that Alabama’s postsecondary system be positioned to encourage business location and expansion,” Waters said.

Waters worked for 38 years for Alabama Power in many leadership capacities, including a 15-year stint as western division vice president. He served chairman of the Chamber of Commerce of West Alabama and the Tuscaloosa County Industrial Development Authority. In those roles, he worked extensively to help to recruit new businesses and industries to Alabama.