A special celebration held Nov.9 marked the culmination of a three-year partnership between Bevill State Community College, Alabama Power Company, Southern Company Services, and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers. Representatives from all involved dedicated the Alabama Power Company Technical Education Center on Bevill State’s Sumiton Campus.
The Center provides the latest in technological support for apprentice and journeymen training for Alabama Power’s plants in Miller and Gorgas. The partnership also helps prepare students for more marketable career skills and enhances the overall workforce development education provided by the College.
“This truly is a marriage between industry and education. The opening of the Technical Training Center is the culmination of a long-term valuable partnership and marks the results of business and education coming together to listen to the needs of each,” explained Dr. Leslie Cummings, Dean of Instruction at Bevill State.
Students enrolled in the two new programs can choose from a short-term certificate, a long-term certificate or an associate in applied science degree. While there are skills and training involved that differ between the two programs, they each have one important thing in common – job preparation.
“With an aging workforce and new technology being introduced in the workplace, programs like these and training facilities like the Alabama Technical Education Center become more vital in order to prepare others to enter the workforce and receive critical training,” said Al Moore, dean of the Sumiton Campus and Career Technical Programs. “We now have the programs and facilities to better reach these goals.”
Representatives of all the partnerships provided greetings and commented about the need the Center fills for all involved. Jim Heilbron, senior vice president and senior production officer for Alabama Power, said, “This center addresses a need identified several years ago for more hands-on training, specifically for electrical, instrumentation and mechanical apprentices, in order to ensure employee safety and operating efficiency at the plants.”
After the dedication ceremony, attendees saw firsthand the classrooms, equipment, and labs the Center has to offer during a tour of the facilities.
Senate Majority Leader Greg Reed (R-Jasper) applauded all the partners on the opening of the Center. “I commend Bevill State, the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, and Alabama Power for their work in making this partnership become a reality,” said Reed. “The innovative technology and equipment at the Center will help prepare our students for technical career jobs, and provide a training site for Alabama Power's employees at the Miller and Gorgas facilities. I believe our area will benefit from this important partnership for years to come.”
“Today’s event is another positive step that Bevill State is taking to provide greater career technical education and enhanced workforce development. I am excited about all the opportunities and benefits the Technical Education Center will have for the people, businesses, and communities we serve,” said Dr. Kim Ennis, interim President of Bevill State.