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Black Belt Initiative
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As part of Phase II of it's Black Belt Initiative the Alabama Forestry Foundation had begun supporting full implemntaion of AMSTI in three south Alabama schools.








 Sponsored by the Alabama Forestry Foundation, the Black Belt Initiative is designed to increase the awareness of students attending Black Belt Region high schools of job opportunities in forestry. The objective of this initiative is to encourage rural students to pursue education and training that would qualify them for employment in Alabama’s forest products companies.


Career Opportunities
The forest products industry is the single most important economic engine in rural Alabama and includes companies that manufacture renewable products from Alabama’s most abundant natural resource (pulp and paper mills, sawmills, wood panel mills, and renewable energy plants), as well as companies that supply raw material for these manufacturers (landowners, loggers, and land management companies). A few examples of career opportunities include:
  • Professional – require degrees offered at a 4-year university
Ø Forester
Ø Engineer
  • Technical – require technical training offered at 2-year community colleges
Ø Electrician
Ø Welder
Ø Pulp & Paper Technician
Initiative Goals
By increasing the awareness of career opportunities in Alabama’s forest products industry, the Foundation plans to accomplish the following goals:
  • Increase the pool of qualified graduates available for employment in the forest products industry.
  • Provide students that live in the Black Belt with a career path that will allow them to obtain good jobs and remain in the region.
  • Motivate students to focus on math and science while still in high school in order to build a foundation for a future career.
Initiative Activities and Contacts
In order to accomplish these goals, Foundation staff will be conducting the following activities:
  • Public Awareness
      In 2011 and 2012, the Foundation will conduct a public awareness campaign to promote Alabama’s forest products industry and the jobs it creates. 
     This campaign will include information provided through radio and billboard advertisements and newspaper inserts. 
      For more information contact: Sam Duvall, Director of Communication (334) 481-2129 or
  • Elected / Education Officials Meetings
      In 2012, a series of 10 meetings will be held across the Black Belt Region to inform local elected and education officials about the Initiative and to solicit their assistance. 
      For more information contact: Tom Saunders, Director of Governmental Affairs (334) 481-2126 or
  • Guidance Counselor Meetings
      In 2012, Foundation staff will meet with Guidance Councilors in every high school in the Black Belt Region to inform them about the Initiative and to provide material 
      about forestry careers they can use with their students. 
      For more information contact: Chris Erwin, Director of Education & Outreach (334) 481-2133 or
  • Teacher Workshops
      Two summer workshops will be held -  Auburn (high school) – June 18-21 and Tuscaloosa (K-8) – June 26-28, to provide education about how Alabama’s forests
      are managed and how forest products are manufactured. 
      For more information contact: Ashley Smith, Director of Education Programs (334) 614-5048 or
  • Student Workshops
      Scholarships will be provided for a limited number of Black Belt high school students to  attend week-long summer camps in forestry and engineering.
      For more information contact: Ashley Smith, Director of Education Programs (334) 614-5048 or
  • College Programs Counseling
      Representatives from Auburn University will be available at student workshops and by  phone to provide additional information about professional degree
      programs in forestry and engineering. 


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