PHIL CAMPBELL, ALA. — For some youth, finding a way forward into successful adult employment seems impossible. The Youth Success Program (YSP) at Northwest Shoals Community College (NWSCC) has proven to be exactly the lifeline Hannah James (of Spruce Pine, Ala.) needed for her future.

Hannah James
Hannah James

For James, advanced homeschool classes through eleventh grade helped her make headway academically, but the isolated experience and difficult subject matter left her burned out and ready for a change. Rather than continue in homeschool, she entered the Youth Success Program after learning of the free GED program offered through NWSCC.

Knowing that a structured school system would be a very different experience from homeschool, James was nervous about entering the classroom environment. Her uneasiness dissipated quickly upon meeting NWSCC Adult Education instructors Gloria Butts and Kathy Hutcheson, along with YSP advisor Cynthia Scott, on the NWSCC Phil Campbell campus. James attended free GED preparation classes every weekday for several months before obtaining her GED.

“The instructors helped so much by walking me through challenges in the material step-by-step to help me understand,” said James. “They also welcomed me with open arms and made me feel more comfortable meeting new people.”

Also, James worked with YSP Advisor, Cynthia Scott, to set goals, find her interests, and determine her next steps. “Mrs. Cynthia made me feel like I could talk to her about anything,” said James. “From personal issues to college questions, I could come in and talk to her about it.”

After completing her GED, James earned a financial incentive from YSP. She then enrolled at NWSCC for her first college class at the age of 17. Through her successful participation in YSP, James received free tuition for Math 110, which she completed in May 2018.

Hannah James (left) stands with YSP Advisor, Cynthia Scott (right)
Hannah James (left) stands with YSP Advisor, Cynthia Scott (right)

When asked what she would say to someone about the NWSCC Youth Success Program and the free Adult Education GED preparation classes, James replied enthusiastically, “I’d say go for it! Come meet the instructors and advisors here and get to know them. They work at your speed, on your time schedule, and they are so nice and welcoming.”

The Youth Success Program (YSP) at NWSCC serves out-of-school youth ranging from 16-24 years of age in Colbert, Franklin, Lauderdale, Lawrence, Marion, and Winston Counties. YSP identifies and assists those who have been unable to complete their education and need guidance and assistance deciding between continuing their education and seeking additional training toward employment.

YSP offers services such as job skills/employment training, GED support, college enrollment assistance, tutoring and mentoring.

For more information about the Youth Success Program at NWSCC, contact Sharon McBride by phone at 256-331-5262 or by email at