Spotlight on Fayette, Lamar & Marion: Higher Education

Bevill State Community College provides academic and workforce training programs

The Hamilton campus is creating a Workforce Rapid Training Center, which will include existing career tech labs including the automotive service technology lab.

Bevill State Community College

Bevill State Community College provides a mix of academic and workforce training, working in partnership with industry, government and school systems to meet the communities’ educational needs.

Bevill State has a campus in Hamilton in Marion County and one in Fayette County. It also has two campuses in Jasper and Sumiton in nearby Walker County and an educational center in Carrollton, in Pickens County.

Bevill State offers dozens of workforce training and retraining courses including basic skills education, occupational, career technical and pre-baccalaureate programs, as well as dual enrollment for high school students. The school is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

The college was recently honored with the prestigious Alabama Mining Association Safety & Sustainability Award for Exceptional Safety & Training Initiative. The college received the award for the longwall training expansion to the simulated underground mine, which is a part of the Alabama Mining Academy located on the Sumiton campus. The expansion was made possible by $950,000 from the Alabama Legislature, and the location is now home to one of the most advanced underground miner training programs in the nation.

The Hamilton campus has received a $1.5 million Appalachian Regional Commission grant to create a Workforce Rapid Training Center, with a range of expanded, accelerated workforce skill training programs that provide industry-recognized credentials. The campus’ existing career tech labs will undergo renovations to respond quickly to business and industry needs. Key programs include welding, HVAC, advanced engineering design, advanced manufacturing technology, automotive service technology, machine tool technology and electrical technology. It is the second such grant awarded to the school, with a total of more than $3 million.

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A student works in the machine tool technology lab.

Also, recently, BSCC finished its new 2021-2026 strategic plan. It is built on three major goals — to connect with both internal and external stakeholders through recruitment, enrollment, community partnerships and workforce initiatives; to enhance programs and services that empower credit and noncredit students to complete their educational goals; and to provide a highly-skilled workforce that enhances economic and community development, along with generosity among alumni.

Dr. Joel Hagood has been appointed president of BSCC. He has spent his entire educational career at Bevill State’s Walker County campus and has served as superintendent of Walker County schools. Hagood replaced Dr. Kim Ennis, who retired after more than three decades at BSCC.

The college also has received several recent grants: $199,465 from ARC to establish a utility vegetation management program; $72,000 from Alabama Power for scholarships for minority students in HVAC fast-track programs; $300,000 from Alabama Community College ASPIRE 2030 program for its Career Pathways Academy, which introduces high school sophomores to industrial job opportunities, and another ACCS grant allowing upper high school students to take classes in biology, chemistry, computer science, engineering, math, physical science and physics.

BSCC also has updated the audio/visual equipment in Earl McDonald Auditorium, which is the largest in Fayette County.

And the college has signed a memorandum of understanding to ease transfer of Bevill State students to the University of West Alabama.

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

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