Spotlight on Choctaw, Clarke, Conecuh, Escambia & Monroe: Higher Education

Two colleges offer academic and workforce programs across this area

Graduates and the mascot, Yotee, of Coastal Alabama Community College in Monroeville. Photo by Keith Necaise.

Coastal Alabama Community College

Coastal Alabama Community College, the largest community college in the state by geographic coverage, has campuses in six counties and serves four additional counties in southwest Alabama.

Choctaw, Clarke, Monroe and Escambia counties all house a Coastal Alabama campus, providing critical education opportunities and workforce training across the area.  Due to increased demand, the college is employing a new career/success coach, who will be devoted to the students in Clarke, Choctaw and Marengo counties.

In Choctaw County, Coastal Alabama has a campus in Gilbertown that provides both transfer and technical training with programs such as industrial maintenance and general studies. The campus also serves the local community through its library, adult education opportunities and facilities like the walking trail. One of the college’s three Upward Bound programs is also based in Gilbertown, providing college-level exposure and opportunities to area high school students.

In Clarke County, the Thomasville campus serves as a hub of technical training for the northern part of the Coastal Alabama footprint. With programs from pipefitting to electrical/instrumentation to cosmetology, the campus is a critical training site for students and industry partners in the area. The college’s workforce development department has also provided quick-credential programs such as medication aid and certified nursing assistant to support the campus’ thriving healthcare training programs like nursing.

Escambia County has two campuses in Atmore and Brewton. The Atmore campus has a new Conference & Education Center, housing nursing programs and natural science classrooms along with a large conference area for college and community use. The space has allowed much more traffic to campus, both internally and externally. For instance, the college’s police department will work with area agencies and the college’s nursing and allied health programs on the next mass casualty training event this semester on the Atmore campus. With the addition and remodel of facilities and with new programs, such as the LPN nursing program, more visitors to campus have translated into higher enrollment.

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On the Brewton campus, campus life continues to expand. Recently, cross-country, golf and tennis were added to the slate of athletic programs. In its first year, the cross-country team competed in the Alabama Community College Conference regional championship.

The Monroeville campus is finalizing construction on a new welding building, which will allow those students to be on campus full-time. And due to area demand, the college is working to add a skid steer class to help area workers receive a valued credential and to enhance their skill set.

Breaking new ground, Reid State Technical College has ventured into athletics for the first time in its history.

Reid State Technical College

Reid State Technical College, in Evergreen, recently has made significant strides. Among its achievements is the accreditation of its nursing program by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing.

In a boost to its workforce programs, Reid State secured more than $500,000 in grant funds to upgrade equipment and add technology.

Breaking new ground, Reid State ventured into athletics for the first time in its history. In the inaugural season, the school added men’s basketball, cross country, golf and e-sports. The college plans to add women’s basketball, volleyball, softball and baseball soon.

Reid State received $20 million from the Alabama Legislature and Alabama Community College System. The funds are earmarked for renovating the college’s facilities, which date back to the 1960s.

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

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