Wallace State Community College and Lurleen B. Wallace Community College have received grants from the Workforce Opportunities for Rural Communities program through the U.S. Department of Labor. The program works in partnership with the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) and the Delta Regional Authority (DRA).
Wallace State received $1.5 million from the ARC to support the development of the Diesel by Distance program and virtual reality programming that will allow students to complete a degree and training in diesel technology partially online and virtually with minimal time on campus.
“Wallace State is extremely honored to have been selected for this highly competitive award and the longstanding support we have received from ARC. These funds will assist us in expanding access to high demand careers through innovation,” said Vicki Karolewics, president of Wallace State. “Our diesel program is one of our most sought after programs with an outstanding reputation among employers and for student success.”
Along with the virtual reality labs and periodic competency demonstrations, one of the main components of the Diesel by Distance program is the work-based learning experience in partnership with an employer of diesel technicians. While enrolled in the program, students must be employed and engaged in work-based learning through an industry recognized or registered apprenticeship program in partnership with a participating company.
Students enrolled in the WSCC program earn an associate in applied science in the field or pursue multiple certificates.
Lurleen B. Wallace Community College, in partnership with Reid State Technical College, received $1,495,819 from the DRA. LBWCC was awarded for its South Alabama Workforce Advancement Project, which will serve the residents of Butler, Conecuh and Escambia counties by increasing their access to quality training and instruction.
The funds will help expand LBWCC’s existing Industrial Electronics Program to the Greenville campus, securing apprenticeship opportunities with regional employers. It will also enhance Reid State’s Industrial Maintenance Program by offering several new industry-recognized credentials.
“This project will directly address the workforce crisis impacting manufacturing across the delta region by preparing residents within our service area to enter high wage manufacturing jobs through advanced manufacturing education and training programs,” said Jennifer Hall, LBWCC associate dean of adult education, workforce development and continuing education.
LBWCC and Reid State will deliver these program through traditional and hybrid instruction, offering both new and enhanced training to eligible participants.
The Workforce Opportunities for Rural Communities program grants encourage partnership between schools and industry to promote sustainable job opportunities and long-term economic vitality.
“The WORC encourages grantees to use innovation, regional approaches that leverage local partnerships and resources to build a strong foundation for long-term economic success in the area,” said Assistant Secretary John Pallasch. “We look forward to working with ARC and DRA to ensure that the training delivered through these grants better positions jobseekers to fill the unmet skill needs of local employers, so that workers and businesses can thrive in their communities.”