Spotlight on Jackson, Marshall, DeKalb & Cherokee: Higher Education

Three institutions of higher learning provide certificate and degree options for area residents

Northeast Alabama Community College.

Northeast Alabama Community College

Northeast Alabama Community College, located at the Jackson-DeKalb county line, has 3,469 credit students, 1,866 non-credit students and 316 employers. The main campus is in Rainsville in DeKalb County, with salon and spa management and truck driving programs in Scottsboro in Jackson County.

NACC offers a variety of career and technical programs, certificates and preparation for transfer to four-year colleges.

In June 2023, officials broke ground for a new Workforce Skills Center — a 50,000-square-foot, $27 million technology project to upgrade the workforce and economic development in the area. Plans include laboratory space for programs in industrial systems maintenance, precision machining, design and 3D modeling and building construction craft training, with some space adaptable to meet local workforce needs.

The project is part of the Alabama Community College System ASPIRE 2030 initiative and received a $1 million grant from the state legislature.

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NACC is an Accredited Training and Education Facility through the National Center for Construction Education and Research. Also, the Manufacturing Skills Standards Council has designated NACC as a training site and assessment center.

Intercollegiate athletics are being expanded at NACC.

Ground was broken in August for a $7.8 million women’s softball facility, with plans for the team to compete in 2024. NACC also has new men’s and women’s cross-country teams, which began this fall.

Since 2022, the college also has offered esports. The four teams compete in a custom-designed esports lab. NACC’s Invitational Team competed in the Invitational Season and was ranked 8th in the nation. NACC’s Esports compete in the National Junior College Athletic Association Esports, the national governing body for two-year college esports in the U.S.

The campus of Snead State Community College.

Snead State Community College

Snead State Community College, with approximately 2,500 students, has its main campus in Boaz and four instructional sites — one in Arab, one at the Alabama Aviation College in Albertville, one at the Marshall Technical School in Guntersville, and one at the Southern Museum of Flight in Birmingham. The college offers dozens of academic and career technical programs for certifications and associate degrees.

Snead State offers opportunities for adult learners, recent high school or GED graduates, and even current high school students who qualify to enroll as dual enrollment students. Snead also has transfer agreements with four-year universities, including Jacksonville State University. Instruction is available online and in person.

In January 2023, officials broke ground for the Workforce Skills Training Center next to Marshall Technical School in Guntersville. The 45,000-square-foot facility for high-demand jobs and as a training center for business and industry throughout northeast Alabama. The center will offer HVAC and refrigeration, welding technology, machine tool technology, industrial systems technology and additive manufacturing. There also are plans to have flexible space, as well as engineering design and a 3D laboratory.

Richard Lindsey Arena grand opening on the Gadsden State Cherokee campus.

Gadsden State Cherokee

Gadsden State Cherokee offers courses for academic transfer, as well as nursing classes, adult education and a poultry science program.

More than 130 students are enrolled at Gadsden State Cherokee, which is housed in a multi-level complex that includes learning laboratories, meeting rooms and a hospitality room. The multi-purpose, 2,500-seat complex at Gadsden State Cherokee was recently named the Richard Lindsey Arena in honor of the long-time Alabama representative largely responsible for the construction of the complex. Gadsden State Cherokee’s campus is also home to the Cherokee County Chamber of Commerce and the Economic Development Center.

Gadsden State Cherokee employs 12 full-time and seven part-time faculty and staff members. Around 44% of the student population is from Cherokee County with about 20% more from west Georgia counties approved for in-state/reciprocal tuition.

Gadsden State Cherokee offers flexible scheduling with day and evening classes in classrooms, online or a hybrid of both. Nursing students can take courses three to four nights a week, as well as weekend clinical experiences for those who are already employed. Students also have the option to complete three semesters and take the licensed practical nursing exam through the Alabama School of Nursing.

Another program offered is the 2+2 Poultry Science Program for students planning to transfer to Auburn University’s poultry science program.

This article appears in the November 2023 issue of Business Alabama.

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