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

Community and technical colleges offer a number of opportunities for students to earn certificates or associate degrees.

Lurleen B. Wallace Community College offers several health programs including physical therapy assistant.

Lurleen B. Wallace Community College

Lurleen B. Wallace Community College is a pivotal part of economic development in five counties in south Alabama, enrolling a demographically diverse student body and preparing them for high-demand jobs.

LBW provides academic, technical and workforce programs with multiple class formats and flexible scheduling at four campuses.

The college has four instructional sites including its main Andalusia campus in Covington County, the Greenville campus in Butler County, the MacArthur Campus in Opp in Covington County and the Luverne Center in Crenshaw County. LBW serves Butler, Covington, Crenshaw, Coffee and Geneva counties. Many students attending LBW are the first in their family to attend college or pursue any type of formal education beyond high school.

The college offers dual enrollment, technical training, two-to-four-year transfer, adult education and community education, and works closely with community leaders to produce the skilled workers needed in today’s economy.

Recent initiatives include LBW’s Alabama RISE Program, which was chosen for the 2021 AlabamaWORKS Innovator Award and as a Region 6 Best Practice for Work-Based Learning. RISE, an acronym for Reemerging Ideas for Successful Employment, is the vision of Dr. Brock Kelley, LBW president, to offer virtual reality technology career exploration in the senior year of high school to students with disabilities. 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.

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LBW offers 15 career technical and health programs. Those include nursing, diagnostic medical sonography, EMT, physical therapy assistant, automotive, child development, computer science, cosmetology, nail technology, esthetics, diesel, forestry, industrial electronics, welding and medical office administration. The physical therapy, diagnostic medical sonography and nursing programs are officially accredited.

In fall 2022, a new program in building construction will begin. The college has partnered with the Alabama Home Builders Association to offer a non-credit construction course for adult learners to provide certification to enter the workforce. In addition, LBW has partnerships with local businesses and industry for apprenticeship opportunities for students in several areas.

LBW also has the only two-year forest technology program in the state, training students for the position of forest technician.

LBW has concurring enrollment and transfer agreements with Auburn University, Troy University, the University of West Alabama and Auburn University in Montgomery, making it easier for LBW graduates to begin university studies. Dual enrollment career tech courses, as well as STEM courses, are offered to all area high school students at no cost.

The college also recently went through an academic and athletic rebranding. The Seth Hammett Gymnasium was renovated, and women’s volleyball was added to the athletics lineup, and the first-ever team was in the conference top 8.

The Alabama Aviation College teaches avionics and aircraft maintenance.

Alabama Aviation College at Andalusia

AAC at Andalusia is located at the South Alabama Regional Airport. Students can learn from experienced aviation professionals, choosing from programs in aircraft maintenance and avionics technology. Program length is about six semesters and takes about two years to complete.

This article appeared in the April 2022 issue of Business Alabama.

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