Landmark legislation signed into law on May 3, 1963, laid the groundwork for what would become the Alabama Community College System (ACCS). Legislators wanted a unified system of institutions to focus on accessible training in “arts and sciences and in useful skills and trades” for current and future labor needs. Sixty years have passed, but that important cause remains the singular purpose of the 24 community and technical colleges that make up the ACCS.
Two years of celebration, called the ACCS Diamond Jubilee, will mark the System’s 60th anniversary. The celebration began in April — National Community College Month – when dozens of Diamond Jubilee celebrations and community service projects across the state launched to highlight the positive impact made by Alabama’s community and technical colleges.
In the year we are celebrating the alumni, employees, communities and leaders who strengthen Alabama by their contributions to innovation and success. We are also sharing the word, far and wide, of what makes up the ACCS success story:
Alabama is our priority.
Every investment in ACCS is a long-term investment in our state. More than 95% of the students who attend our colleges live in Alabama and more than 71% who graduate remain in Alabama to work and raise their families. Their lasting contributions to our state are immeasurable.
Community is our middle name.
Every resident can benefit in some way – whether through academic and skills training or through community projects and events. With more than 130 locations among our campuses, adult education providers, and instructional sites, we are uniquely positioned to offer accessible, affordable and flexible educational opportunities anywhere in Alabama.
We strive to improve the Labor Force Participation Rate.
ACCS adds more than $6.6 billion to our economy annually and supports one of every 27 jobs in Alabama. But with Alabama’s labor force participation rate below 60%, more can be done. So we have strengthened our partnerships with Alabama’s businesses and industries to make sure our training programs align with their needs for skilled workers. We are advancing new and transformational programs for rapid training, apprenticeships, student services, and many others that will positively impact our state’s labor force for decades to come.
Our success is our students’ success.
More than 155,000 students receive training through a local community college for industry-backed credentials and certifications and two-year, associate degrees. For students who look toward completing a bachelor’s, we have a structure in place that helps them seamlessly transfer from a community college to four-year public and private universities in the state.
Students as young as high school age can gain college experience through their local community college with dual enrollment, saving them time and money. Adult students interested in GED and workforce credentials, degrees and transfer opportunities have many programs and options to choose from at their local community colleges.
There is always more to the story.
Sustainable success for Alabama’s workforce requires a deliberate investment in that workforce — our neighbors, colleagues, and children. Nothing that Alabama’s community colleges do is meant for short-term impact; the long-term benefit is always the focus.
We invite all of Alabama to take the opportunity of our Diamond Jubilee to reflect on how we started, take a look at where we are, and be inspired by where we are going as we pursue excellence.
Cheers to another 60 years.
Websites to Remember:
Donate to Scholarships that Benefit Students Attending Community College: www.pathsforsuccess.com
Support Employee Recognition events: [email protected]
Learn About the ACCS’ Impact on Alabama: www.accs.edu/impact
Share Your ACCS Alumni Success Story: www.accs.edu/alumni
Learn More About the ACCS Diamond Jubilee: www.accs.edu/jubilee
Locate a Community College Near You: www.alabama.edu
Learn More About Rapid Training: innovation.accs.edu
Follow What’s Happening at Alabama’s Community Colleges: www.facebook.com/theACCS