Wallace State receives $23,000 from Appalachian Regional Commission’s POWER Initiative

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(Photo from Facebook)   HANCEVILLE, Ala. — More than 30 graduates of the Wallace State Community College Adult Education program walked across the stage Thursday, June 3, to mark their success of receiving their GED. There were around 80 students who earned their GED or high school diploma through the Adult Education program at Wallace State during the 2020-2021 academic year.   While most commonly known for helping students obtain their GED, the Adult Education program also helps students earn their high school diploma and provides classes that offer credentials which can be used for employment.   “The Adult Education program is not only for those without their high school diploma, but also serves adults who need to improve their skills and abilities to be successful in the completion of their chosen program,” said Suzanne Harbin, vice president for advancement and innovation.   The GED is offered to students who dropped out of school before completing required credits needed to graduate. Classes are offered in person, online and at community sites. Vouchers are offered to students completing classes that will pay for the GED exam. Upon receiving their GED, the students receive a 3-credit-hour scholarship to Wallace State.   The high school diploma credential is for students who completed credits needed to graduate but did not pass the high school exit exam. The Adult Education program helps them prepare for and administers the necessary assessments to receive their high school diploma.   The Adult Education program also offers classes that let students earn credentials they can use in the workforce. The program is currently partnering with the Medical Laboratory Technician program to offer the Medical Lab Assistant certificate in two semesters. Medical lab assistants often work in doctors’ offices and urgent care facilities and are responsible for completing waived testing. Waived testing includes pregnancy tests and tests for flu, strep, etc.   The Adult Education program also offers classes in Manufacturing Skill Standards Council, Phlebotomy, OSHA, WorkKeys Certification, Ready to Work and more. Plans are in the works to offer classes for Certified Nursing Assistant.   Skylar Bolton earned her GED and CNA certification last year after years of starting and stopping her efforts. “I’m so thankful for the Wallace State Adult Education program,” she said at the time. “They’ve encouraged me every step of the way, even when I wasn’t receptive. The teachers and staff are top-notch, and they do all they can to help you succeed.”    Adult Education’s efforts to assist students like Bolton fall in line with Gov. Kay Ivey’s Success Plus Initiative. The Success Plus Initiative addresses Alabama’s increasing need for workers with certificates, credentials or degrees in addition to a high school diploma. By 2025, Alabama will need to add 500,000 high-skilled employees to the workforce in order to fill existing industry’s labor needs and compete for new businesses, according to a report produced by the Alabama Workforce Council’s Statewide Educational Attainment Committee.   For more information about Wallace State’s Adult Education program visit www.wallacestate.edu/adulted, call 256-352-8078 or email adulteducation@wallacestate.edu.

HANCEVILLE, Ala. —Wallace State Community College’s Prepping the Talent Pipeline for Economic Growth and Diversification Planning Project was awarded $23,191 by the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC). The project will assess the current and projected state of automotive manufacturing in Appalachian. The resulting strategic plan will inform WSCC’s educational and capital plan to meet the evolving employment needs of the industry, as demand for autonomous and electric vehicle manufacturing increases. It is also expected to guide the program development of WSCC’s automotive manufacturing-related programs for the next 10 years.

Car manufacturing is evolving. The demand for electric vehicles is on the rise, meaning big changes to how cars are made and maintained.  Automation and digitization are already transforming the line processes of established manufacturing plants requiring a new set of skills for current and future employees. All these changes signal an industry disruption is on its way.  The Appalachian Regional Commission, in partnership with Wallace State, and members of the automotive industry will conduct a year-long study of these changes to help prepare North Alabama’s manufacturers and their employees for Industry 4.0.  

This award is part of a $46.4 million package supporting 57 projects across 184 coal-impacted counties through ARC’s POWER (Partnerships for Opportunity and Workforce and Economic Revitalization) Initiative. POWER targets federal resources to communities affected by job losses in coal mining, coal power plant operations and coal-related supply chain industries.

“The downturn of the coal industry has impacted economies across Appalachia. That’s why ARC’s POWER initiative helps to leverage regional partnerships and collaborations to support efforts to create a more vibrant economic future for coal-impacted communities,” said ARC Federal Co-Chair Gayle Manchin. “Many of the projects we announced today will invest in educating and training the Appalachian workforce, nurturing entrepreneurship and supporting infrastructure—including broadband access. These investments in our Appalachian coal-impacted communities are critical in leveling the economic playing field so our communities can thrive.”

Since POWER launched in 2015, ARC has invested more than $284 million in 320 projects across 353 coal-impacted counties. The $46.4 million awarded today is projected to create/retain over 9,306 jobs, attract nearly $525 million in leveraged private investments and be matched by $59.2 million in additional public and private funds across the region. 

ARC is working with Chamberlin/Dunn LLC, a third-party research firm, to closely monitor, analyze and evaluate these investments. A new report, published today in conjunction with the announcement, drew on 72 stories representing 44 unique POWER projects funded between fiscal years 2015-2020 to determine the most significant changes that occurred as a result of POWER. 

The evaluation found that projects funded through POWER grants met or exceeded targets for jobs retained and/or created, businesses created, workers trained and revenues increased. Chamberlin/Dunn is continuing to monitor POWER investments and make recommendations to ARC for ongoing programmatic efficiencies.

About the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC)

The Appalachian Regional Commission (www.arc.gov) is an economic development partnership agency of the federal government and 13 state governments focusing on 420 counties across the Appalachian Region. ARC’s mission is to innovate, partner and invest to build community capacity and strengthen economic growth in Appalachia.