Pickens County high school students now have greater access to a career in welding thanks to a grant awarded to Bevill State Community College.
Governor Robert Bentley announced the grant in December. The funding, totaling almost $400,000, came from an Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) grant. It will establish a mobile welding classroom to serve potential workers in the county.
“The mobile welding training unit will decrease the barriers for residents in Pickens County seeking to enter high-wage, high-demand occupation within the automotive supplier industry,” said Max Weaver, dean of Workforce Development and the Fayette Campus of Bevill State. “Establishing the mobile welding classroom also enhances the partnership between the College and local high schools in Pickens County. This partnership has the potential to increase the number of high school students seeking dual credit and the number of non-traditional adults participating in credit and non credit skills training.”
According to Weaver, an estimated 20 high school students are expected to participate in dual credit welding education classes with an additional 20 adult students set to participate in credit and non-credit training.
“Welding remains a high-demand, high paying vocation in Alabama,” Bentley said. “By offering this training, it enables Alabama to provide existing and new companies with a skilled workforce and it assures workers who possess those skills that they have a high probability of employment.”
The Appalachian Regional Commission serves to promote ARC’s goals of increasing employment and improving the standard of living in the ARC region. The Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs administers the ARC program in Alabama.
“As a native of Pickens County, I am excited about the quality of training students in this area can soon receive through the mobile welding classroom. I am very proud that Bevill State will be able to provide opportunities to students to seek better, more competitive careers,” said Dr. Leslie Cummings, dean of Instruction and Academic Transfer at the College.
The mobile classrooms are expected to be operational by Spring 2016.