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New legislation helping students and local business owners

The Alabama Future Workforce Initiative allows students to have dual enrollment while giving a tax break to business owners who donate to the scholarship program.
Dual enrollment programs allow students to complete college courses while still enrolled in high school. Next year will bring new changes to the program; the state is calling it The Alabama Future Work Initiative.

"Through this tax credit which will be given by individuals and or businesses, they can get a tax break for that,” said Alabama Representative Paul Lee. “Those monies that they give 80 percent of that money can be designated to exactly what their business needs are."

The state is expecting 10,000 students to take advantage of the scholarship opportunities. Business owners will also be able to benefit from the new legislation. They can receive a tax break up to 50 percent of their total giving’s, while also recruiting specialists for their businesses

"There's a skills gap in this country and there simply aren't enough people to do the jobs we have available and I think it’s critical we get more people enrolled,” said Rob Rhoades, local business owner. “I think one of the keys to doing that is to get them started earlier, let them get credit in high school and put them into the workforce sooner."

Rhoades says there's a huge demand in the wiregrass for career techs specializing in electricity, plumbing, heat ventilation and air conditioning.

Students who are currently enrolled in the program say the only downside is learning time management.

"It's really valuable experience and you learn so much and its a way to get college out of the way without high school. So, when you get out of high school you can get done with college faster and you can jump right into a job," said Brandon Rice, a dual enrollment student.

The initiative will create 10 million dollars in scholarship for the high school students.
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