The American economy finished strong in June, adding some 224,000 new jobs.

Aside from government hiring, construction and manufacturing experienced robust gains over May. New jobs in construction shot from 5,000 new hires in May to 21,000 in June. Manufacturing went from adding 3,000 in May to 17,000 new hires in June.

Education, health and professional services also continued to climb, while retail, under pressure from online purchasing, experienced another negative month of employment.

Construction and manufacturing jobs rely on trained, skilled workers, a point that has contributed to Cullman County’s low unemployment rate and Alabama’s surge in the automobile industry.

With outstanding training opportunities at Wallace State Community College, the local workforce has an advantage when it comes to landing good-paying jobs at home or away.

The arrival of Mazda/Toyota in north Alabama, with high-paying jobs across the board, will at worst put a strain on local workforces because of the wages. For workers, this is good news, if they possess the type of skills needed.

The booming economy continues to show signs that more growth is ahead. Locally, the challenge will be attracting more people to move here who have skills or at least are trainable. In fact, the entire state faces the same challenge.

The idea of establishing a new career technical academy for high school students, with a cooperative relationship with Wallace State, makes sense for the future. The demand in the workplace changes rapidly with new technology being introduced in all facets of industries and businesses.

Moving forward with greater training opportunities will be one way to attract more individuals and families to the area and maintain a ready workforce.

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