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Workforce Under Construction Part 4: Alabama Community College System


The Alabama Community College System (ACCS) is working to provide a wide range of services to help students learn a trade. With 26 community and technical colleges statewide—and over 100 campuses—ACCS has partnered with secondary schools to provide NCCER credentials at no cost to students. “This is a huge deal,” said ACCS’ Director of Career & Technical Education. “This initiative began last year, and we are still undergoing that process. We are trying to provide every pathway possible for students and, at the same time, do all we can to serve the construction industry.” While high schools have been using NCCER for a few years, ACCS is working to get all programs accredited through NCCER. Currently, it has approximately 150 instructors that can use the NCCER curriculum. “We anticipate that by the end of the year, all colleges will be accredited training and education facilities,” Dudley said. “This is truly a model for the nation. I don’t believe there are any other states doing this in both secondary and post secondary. ACCS and K-12 are really working together on this, and I’m proud of it.”

Most every welding program ACCS offers has already fully embraced NCCER. In fact, the NCCER welding program at Bishop State Community College in Mobile has thrived. “They have probably an excess of 120 welding booths,” Dudley said. “They are doing great and are tied into the ship building industry and construction industry along the Gulf Coast. We see tremendous growth opportunities like this for traditional crafts such as electrical and carpentry.”

In addition to providing NCCER credentials, ACCS is also re-engineering many of its degrees and certificates so that students can earn stackable short certificates, which means that if a student leaves a program early they will have a certificate showing what they have done. ACCS is also focusing heavy on adult education. “This is really forward looking because there are over 400,000 people in Alabama who don’t have a diploma or GED,” Dudley said. “We want to get them involved and get them credentialed so they can be more successful.”

While ACCS is doing all it can to provide more trained workers for the construction industry, it’s always open to suggestions from companies as to what else can be done through its system. “If the industry has a need in a particular area, we would love to know,” Dudley said. “I’d suggest anyone with a specific need contact our office and we will work to put something together to assist in getting it off the ground. We are here to serve the industry.”

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