Spotlight on Butler, Covington, Crenshaw & Lowndes: Higher Education

Two colleges offer academic and aviation programs in this area

Students on one of the four campuses of Lurleen B. Wallace Community College.

Lurleen B. Wallace Community College

LBW Community College, which provides academic, technical and workforce training programs, is a pivotal part of economic development in five counties in south Alabama.

Programs are offered on four campuses. The main campus is in Andalusia, with additional sites in Greenville, Opp and Luverne. LBW serves Butler, Covington, Crenshaw, Coffee and Geneva counties in Alabama and attracts students from Holmes, Jackson, Okaloosa, Santa Rosa and Washington counties in Florida. Many students attending LBW are the first in their family to attend college or pursue any type of formal education beyond high school.

LBW offers dual enrollment for high-school students, technical training, transfer to two- and four-year colleges, adult education and community programs. It works with local leaders and industry to prepare students for nearby jobs.

LBW notched its highest enrollment ever in fall 2023.

Its workforce development and continuing education unit has expanded apprenticeship programs to include welding and nursing and added pre-apprenticeships in mechatronics, diesel technician and welding.

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LBW’s Skills for Success, a free skill training program where students can earn workforce credentials within a week’s time, has been instrumental in meeting the needs of local industry through CDL, heavy equipment, food and beverage training and more.

LBW offers 16 career technical and health programs in nursing, EMS, construction, automotive, forestry and more.

In January 2024, the college broke ground on a $3.5 million, 10,000-square-foot Center for Building Construction, which will have a classroom and labs that will prepare students with real-life scenarios. It is expected to open in fall 2024.

LBW’s Alabama RISE Program, which was awarded the AlabamaWORKS Innovator Award and selected as a Region 6 Best Practice for Work-Based Learning, has gained statewide support within the Alabama Community College System. RISE, which stands for Reemerging Ideas for Successful Employment, is the vision of LBW President Brock Kelley to offer career exploration to an underserved population. About 70% of people with disabilities are not active in the workforce, so this program helps meet their needs through partnerships with local employers and K-12 systems.

LBW also has the only two-year forestry and wildlife sciences program in the state, training students to be forest technicians.

LBW has concurring enrollment and transfer agreements with Auburn University, Troy University, the University of West Alabama and Auburn University Montgomery.

LBW is home to the Saints athletics featuring baseball, softball, men’s and women’s basketball, golf, cross country and volleyball. The home course for the college’s golf team is located at the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail at Cambrian Ridge in Greenville.

Alabama Aviation College at Andalusia

The Alabama Aviation College campus in Andalusia is located at the South Alabama Regional Airport, where students learn from experienced aviation professionals. In 2023, class schedules at the AAC Andalusia campus were redesigned to allow students in Covington County and surrounding areas to complete the first six classes of the college’s airframe and powerplant program, including four general courses and the first two of the airframe certificate program. Students can then continue their training at the college’s Ozark campus.

This article appears in the April 2024 issue of Business Alabama.

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