New Align Center for Workforce Development location announced

Adrian’s historic East side will be the new location for the long-awaited Align Center for Workforce Development (ACWD). Leaders of the organization will soon purchase the existing Restore World Church building at 430 E. Church St., after visiting locations across Lenawee County.

The building, formerly an elementary school, was transformed into a church when it was purchased by Restore World Church in 2011. Now, it will become a workforce development center with training classrooms, a community hall, consulting services, office rental space, childcare and more.

“We believe we have found the perfect location to kick off the Align Center,” said Sheila Blair, Executive Director of the ACWD. “This campus has a lot of potential for us to grow and be able to serve the county more effectively as needs change.”

The Align Center—though conceptualized for decades—was being actively developed for the last two years by organizational leaders and a taskforce of K-12 and higher education partners, local business leaders and others.

“We put together a Design Team of multiple professional consultants in the fields of HR, Accounting, Business Development, Higher Education, Workforce Development, Sales, and Talent Pipeline Management to flesh out this idea, and build our business plan and community support for this concept,” said Randy Yagiela, the Director of Development for Lenawee Now, and leader of the Design Team. “We are creating a very unique space that doesn’t currently exist in Lenawee County, but will have a huge impact on businesses and the community.”

The Align Center for Workforce Development’s Board of Directors is made up of a diverse group  of local and national professionals with talents specific to the needs of Align.

“We have a nationally constituted board made up of local public services and a wide variety of focus and experience to guide our mission,” Yagiela said. “They were hand picked and we were lucky enough that all of them said yes.”

The Align Center Board is made up of seven board members including:

  • Rhonda Wingfield, chair – local and regional business owner; higher ed teacher
  • Rick Hedrick, treasurer – CEO of PlaneWave Instruments
  • Candy Gomez, secretary – Legal Advocate a Catherine Cobb Safe House
  • Pat Farver, director – Executive Director at Lenawee Now
  • Del Collins, director – Chief Operations Officer at Uckele Health & Nutrition
  • Carlos Cassanova, director – Professor at Arizona State University and local community activist
  • Terri Simmons, director – Retired Executive Director of Strategic Planning and Project, Lenawee Intermediate School District

Lenawee Now, a local public-private economic development partnership, has incubated the idea of a workforce development center since 2015, when they determined the important link between workforce development and economic development.

“When companies seek a place to build their new factories, the first two things they focus on are the available talent pool and the availability of local training to upskill that talent pool,” said Pat Farver, Executive Director of Lenawee Now, and new board member of the Align Center for Workforce Development. “Both of these are fulfilled by the Align Center for Workforce Development and its partnerships.”