Alabama Community College System launches Innovation Center, begins enrollment for rapid workforce training

The Alabama College Community Innovation Center (ACCS) officially opened on Monday and announced the launch of its first programs created in the industry to help students find jobs immediately.

The ACCS Innovation Center was created as a $ 10 million investment to train workers to fill jobs in high-demand areas of the state. ACCS management, students and industry partners attended the opening of the center, where event participants were shown some of the trainings to be conducted.

According to the release, students can begin short-term classes anywhere in the state and complete a personal lab at the ACCS regional location. Once training is complete, students are ready to work and rewarded with credentials. Students have the opportunity to gain additional credentials at their local community college.

ACCS Chancellor Jimmy H. Baker outlined the role of the Innovation Center in accelerating student learning.

“Every Alabama resident deserves the opportunity to succeed in the state’s economy. It is not always necessary for someone to spend two years in a public college to acquire skills suitable for the labor market, so we have found a way to speed up learning so that we can enter the market faster, ”Baker advised. “The Innovation Center is a place where we place people involved in the curriculum development process, no matter what it may be, so that residents can gain these credentials and either get started or get promoted with the right skills. for his work. ”

ACCS noted the sentiment of business leaders regarding rapid learning, pointing out that it could serve to address supply chain problems in Alabama and labor shortages.

The first sought-after areas identified for rapid learning at the Innovation Center were hospitality, meat processing, commercial driver’s license (CDL), leisure, heavy equipment, plumbing and premises maintenance.

President and CEO of the Alabama Trucking Association Mark Colson hailed the Innovation Center as vital to accommodating certified individuals in the trucking industry, which he said is currently facing a significant shortage of professional drivers.

“The American commercial trucking industry is facing a critical shortage of about 80,000 professional drivers,” Colson said. “Here in Alabama, trucking already provides more than 112,000 jobs – about 1 in 15 in the state. These are high quality jobs that offer great pay and endless career opportunities. We are proud to be working with the Alabama College System to intensify efforts to attract and connect job seekers with the training they need to enter the trucking industry. The ACCS Innovation Center is the right program to increase the availability of CDL offerings in our state and to improve existing programs that are already preparing our future workforce. ”

According to ACCS, the Innovation Center coordinated with the Alabama Department of Tourism to help workers train and seek employment in the state’s hospitality industry worth $ 16 billion through a $ 1 million grant issued by Gov. Kay Ivey. The system reported that all graduates of the pilot training project who are at the Coastal Community College were hired after graduation.

Dr. Cynthia T. Anthony, president of Lawson State College, expressed admiration for the school’s collaboration with the ACCS Innovation Center and touted the training as important to meet industry demands.

“Lawson State is very excited about this opportunity to continue to connect with the large network of ACCS colleges through the Innovation Center,” Anthony said. “We are excited to see the birth of this new center as it will demonstrate our creativity and our ability to meet the needs of our local industry and give us access to partnerships that will help increase the opportunities we can provide to our students and society.”

Dylan Smith is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @DylanSmithAL

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