The Opelika Career Center in Alabama received the prestigious Mark Sanders Award at the National Association of State Workforce Agencies (NASWA) 10th Annual Veterans Conference in Washington, D.C.
NASWA’s Mark Sanders Award is bestowed each year upon one individual or group in the U.S. that provides exceptional workforce and job market assistance to veterans, especially those with significant barriers to obtaining and retaining employment.
Scott B. Sanders is the President and CEO of NASWA
“The Opelika Career Center has worked tirelessly to help assist veterans and military spouses transition back to civilian life,” said President Sanders. “I applaud the Opelika Career Center staff on the exemplary service they provide to the men and women protecting our country and congratulate them on earning the 2023 Mark Sanders Award!”
The Opelika Career Center was nominated by the Alabama Department of Labor. In 2022, the Opelika Career Center established the Citywide Careers Skills Program (CSP) in conjunction with Opelika Mayor Gary Fuller and the Opelika Workforce Council.
To date, 25 businesses have enrolled in the program and are instrumental in offering internships and career opportunities for transitioning service members, veterans, and military spouses. The Citywide CSP also provides employers with a conduit of quality applicants for internship and apprenticeship positions in the community.
Fitzgerald Washington is the Alabama Secretary of State.
“Veterans are such an integral part of our workforce,” said Sec. Washington. “The skills that our veterans bring to any job are valuable, and we are working hard to ensure that while veterans transition from military service to the private sector, they are as prepared as they can be, and that they have easy access to any programs that can ease that transition. I’m proud of the staff at the Opelika Career Center for this program and the partnerships it represents.”
The Opelika Career Center focuses on developing relationships with military bases, support networks, workforce boards, and businesses to enhance job opportunities for veterans. In addition to its work with the Citywide CSP, the Opelika Career Center has organized and hosted veteran hiring events for 31 businesses. It has also partnered with the county on a Second Chance Job Fair and has hosted resume and mock interview workshops. Through its numerous program and service partnerships, the Opelika Career Center has gone above and beyond to serve its Veterans.
The award is named in honor of Mark Sanders, who, during his career with the California Employment Development Department and in leadership positions with NASWA, was untiring in his efforts to promote excellence in services to disabled veterans.
The National Association of State Workforce Agencies is the national organization representing all 50 state workforce agencies, the District of Columbia, and U.S. territories. These agencies deliver training, employment, career, business, and wage and hour services. They also administer unemployment insurance, veteran reemployment, and labor market information programs. NASWA provides policy expertise, shares promising state practices, and promotes state innovation and leadership in workforce development.
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