MUSCLE SHOALS, ALA. — Northwest Shoals Community College (NWSCC) President Dr. Glenda Colagross met with representatives from the Alabama Community College System and Lauderdale County Schools last week to discuss the new Advanced Manufacturing Center to be located in Lauderdale County off U.S. Highway 72.

“The new center in Lauderdale County will provide a seamless transition for career technical high school students through the Dual Enrollment/Dual Credit program,” said Colagross. The location of the new Advanced Manufacturing Center will allow for dual enrollment partnerships with Lauderdale County Schools and Florence City Schools as well as other high schools in the area.

In last week’s meeting, Lauderdale County Schools Superintendent, Jon Hatton, stated, “Helping our students is the main focus for us daily. Pursuing career technical education and workforce development opportunities is something we are excited to be involved with because it expands their future real world job possibilities.”

A three-way path from high school through Northwest-Shoals and on to the University of North Alabama (UNA) is currently being developed in some programs; therefore, UNA will also have a presence in the proposed center. ”These paths will help ensure that students complete an education and move into high wage/high demand careers,” Colagross stated.

In addition to dual enrollment opportunities, the proposed center will provide flexible training for business and industry. The high wage/high demand programs offered will include electrical, machine tool, industrial systems, welding, and robotics. Additionally, the college plans to offer a machinist apprenticeship program on-site. Also, plans are underway to start a Federation for Advanced Manufacturing Education (FAME) program. The FAME program allows students to earn a wage and gain work experience while pursuing an advanced manufacturing degree.

A portion of the funding needed to construct the proposed center has already been secured.  Due to the efforts of Senator Tim Melson and Representative Lynn Greer, in 2017, Governor Kay Ivey set aside four million dollars for the project, and in 2018, the Shoals Economic Development Center earmarked an additional five million dollars for the project.