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Go Build

JLDC Partner Spotlight: GO BUILD Alabama

“The Future is in Your Hands.” This is the belief of GO BUILD Alabama as it aims to prepare future skilled workers to learn a skill and master a trade.

Currently, only one tradesman is entering the workforce for every four that leave. This creates strong job interest and potential for competitive pay at a young age –something that everyone can enjoy!

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Manufacture Alabama

JLDC Partner Spotlight: Manufacture Alabama

Did you know Alabama is home to more than 5,200 manufacturing, assembly, and processing establishments? And did you know these establishments employ more than 312,000 people and export $8.3 billion in products and services. In total, manufacturing contributes $27 billion to the Alabama economy.

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3 - Panel

Thousands Gathered in Birmingham for Leadership Conference

More than 4,500 Alabama students gathered in Birmingham this week for leadership conference

By Marie Leech

BIRMINGHAM, Alabama – More than 4,500 students were in Birmingham the last two days for the 2013 Joint Leadership Development Conference, aimed at preparing youngsters for career and college success.

High school students from across the state who are involved with Alabama’s JROTC programs, Career Technical Student Organizations [DECA, FBLA, FCCLA, FFA, HOSA, SkillsUSA, and TSA], JROTC and the Jobs for Alabama’s Graduates programs were invited to the two-day event, held at the Birmingham-Jefferson Civic Complex.

Students were able to participate in more than 30 leadership workshops and interactive activities and visit with nearly 100 state and national industries, as well as the Economic Development Partnership of Alabama, Manufacture Alabama, and CARCAM.

Bill Taylor, president of the Economic Development Partnership of Alabama, said the leadership training going on at the conferenced is “critical” to developing a well-rounded student.

“Just look around at the hands-on experience and knowledge these students are gaining,” he said. “Then on the other side of that, these companies can show their wares. It’s education outside of the classroom.”

To be successful in the future, many national experts now believe that America’s students must have a more diverse educational experience – including business, financial literacy, and career development.

Dejah Crossfield, a freshman at Birmingham’s Ramsay High School, is involved in Future Business Leaders of America and came to the conference to broaden her network.

“I do a lot of activities in school and join a lot of organizations, and one of the workshops I attended here taught me about balancing all of those activities so I won’t crack,” she said.

Dejah said she also attended a team-building workshop and has enjoyed meeting new people.

“The more people you have in your network, the greater opportunities will be available to you,” she said.

Race Putman, a junior at Skyline High School in North Alabama, said the conference enhanced what he already knows about being a leader.

“I’ve learned you can’t be shy,” he said. “You’ve got to get up and do something; you can’t sit back and watch it happen.”

Matthew Hyatt, a sophomore at West Limestone High School in North Alabama, said he particularly enjoyed the classes on how to be responsible in a workplace.

“I’ve learned that dedication, commitment, opportunities, how to hold a future job, and training can lead to a better future,” he said. “And I’ve learned how to have leadership in the classroom and outside the classroom.”

This article originally appeared on www.blog.al.com on September 24, 2013 and has been reposted on the JLDC web site.

Featured PresentersSee More >

Winston Groom

The world will never be the same once you’ve seen it through the eyes of Forrest Gump.

Forrest Gump is The New York Times bestselling novel that inspired the Academy Award® winning film starring Tom Hanks. Both the book and movie are full of memorable lines and quotes, including “Run, Forrest! Run!” and “Life was like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.”

Nearly 30 years since the book was first published, and 20 years since the movie become a classic, Alabama JLDC is honored to announce the author of Forrest Gump, Winston Groom, as a featured speaker for JLDC 2014!

Bobby Jon Drinkard

Bobby Jon Drinkard is a native of Troy, Alabama. Drinkard attended Troy University, where he graduated in May 2003, with a Bachelor’s of Science in Journalism and Public Relations. Upon graduation from Troy, Bobby Jon moved to Los Angeles, to pursue a career in entertainment.

Donica Knight

Country Singer


Donica Knight’s music inspires the soul, invigorates the mind and encompasses an undying passion for the art itself. A Montgomery, Alabama native, Knight has just begun to scratch the surface in Nashville. Along with her tireless drive to perfect her craft, Knight’s distinctive voice is a breath of fresh air in the country format. 

Jaycob Curlee

America's Got Talent Semi-Finalist


Daphne, Alabama may be 2,000 miles from Los Angeles, California, but Daphne native Jaycob Curlee made the journey to Los Angeles this summer and made it big as a semi-finalist on NBC’s America’s Got Talent. Jaycob won over the judges and audiences with his amazing musical talents and heartwarming story of using music to help him get through a tough childhood. Curlee lived in multiple foster homes before being adopted by a couple when he was eight years old. Singing his way into the hearts of American’s America’s Got Talent this year was a dream come true for this 18 year old and he’s back home in Alabama to keep the dream alive!

Tom McNeal

National competitor in motorcycle and bicycle action sports, motivational speaker and senior Human Resources Professional


Tom McNeal is a native of Arab, Alabama. As a teenager his goal was to be an extreme sports athlete who wouldn't need further education. However, his participation in Future Business Leaders of America during high school helped him see the world differently and he realized the need for developing skills and furthering his education. While in high school, he moved up the ranks to become the #2 Pro trials bicycle rider in the U.S. as well as representing our country in the world championships. McNeal took off a few years from riding to attend Wallace State Community College in Hanceville. He graduated from the University of Montevallo with a bachelor of arts degree in business administration, and then graduated from Athens State University with a bachelor of science degree in human resources.

Kent Julian

Kent Julian is a lot of things: a speaker, an entrepreneur, an author, a swim coach, and a family man. But, he is “not your normal” youth expert. He has led local youth programs, served as National Director of Alliance Youth, and his master’s program dissertation was on youth development and “how organizations can effectively serve, lead, and impact the next generation."

He challenges his audiences to SHOW UP AND SHINE in their life and leadership so that they can live into their bigger stories and authentically take 100 percent ownership of their lives.

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