MUSCLE SHOALS, ALA. — Florence City Schools and Northwest Shoals Community College (NWSCC) have partnered to offer Florence High School students (beginning in ninth grade) the Early College Program beginning this fall.

According to Florence City Schools Superintendent, Dr. Jimmy Shaw, the impact this initiative can have on the lives of the students at Florence High School is amazing. “This program is not only a partnership between Florence City Schools and Northwest Shoals Community College, but it is a partnership between education and the community,” said Shaw.

“This has the potential to create a pipeline of college and/or career ready students, with no to very little debt, and supply our communities with the prepared workforce that is needed. This will prepare and equip our students grab their future today.”

Florence and NWSCC will begin the program with three primary career pathways available to students: General Liberal Arts (Associate in Arts Degree), Medical Assisting Technology (Associate in Applied Science Degree), and Welding (Associate in Occupational Technology Degree.

“We are so excited to help Dr. Shaw and Florence High School launch the new Early College Program,” said NWSCC President, Dr. Glenda Colagross. “This program can help students on their career pathway at an early age and build our workforce with highly qualified students. It is a win-win for our community and local business and industry.”

The program is designed to provide motivated students a head start on their college program, tuition free. It is modeled after a similar program at Pharr-San Juan-Alamo (PSJA) Early College High School in Texas. Representatives from NWSCC and Florence visited the program during the fall of 2017.

“This will make Florence High School the first true Early College High School in the state of Alabama as far as our research can find,” stated Shaw.