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College to generate a ‘highly skilled workforce’ in automated manufacturing

Alabama College News—Bevill State Community College has announced the development of a new Career Pathway Academy to train area juniors and seniors in automated manufacturing.

Sophomores in Walker, Fayette, Tuscaloosa and Winston counties can apply for the BSCC academy, and will complete training during their junior and senior years at either the Sumiton or Fayette campuses.

Bevill State President Dr. Larry Ferguson said the program was formulated as a result of Yorozu Automotive breaking ground in Jasper.

The automotive stamping plant, which will open in early 2017, will bring 300 jobs to Walker County, and Ferguson said the college wants to prepare a “highly skilled workforce” in automated manufacturing.

He added that the Career Pathway Academy will differ from typical dual enrollment.

“[The Career Pathway Academy] is more focused specifically on this particular industry sector. When you think of dual enrollment, it could be anything from an English course to something else, but these students are literally going to pick up a certificate from Bevill State Community College in automated manufacturing … plus their NCCER certification and OSHA 10 certification,” Ferguson said. “So when they come out of high school and once they’ve completed this program, they really will be job ready.”

The program will accept 20 participants on scholarship, which will provide tuition, books, supplies and any associated fees; however, students would be responsible for transportation to and from campus. Students must be currently enrolled sophomores with a 3.0 grade point average and will be required to interview for a slot in the program.

A Career Pathway Academy robotics summer camp will be held in the coming months, and automated manufacturing training will begin in the fall of 2016.

In a press release from BSCC, Ferguson said the program is made possible through “education, business and governmental partners,” along with the advocacy of Senate Majority Leader Greg Reed to secure funding.

“I commend the administration at Bevill State for putting together an innovative program that will give motivated area high school students an opportunity to learn the skills necessary for success in technical career fields,” Reed said in the press release. “Students who complete the academy will be in an excellent position upon high school graduation. They can either immediately start working at good-paying technical jobs or deepen the skills they have acquired with further work at a community college or university.”

Ferguson said he hopes the program will eventually grow and expand throughout the state of Alabama.

“You think of Mercedes, you think of Yorozu, those types of companies are going to need someone with some very sophisticated skills which would involve electricity, they would involve some engineering. … That’s what this would prepare students for,” he said.

Informational meetings will be held next month — at the Fayette campus on March 7 and the Sumiton campus on March 17 — along with career fairs on the Fayette and Sumiton campuses.

Any sophomore who would like to attend an informational meeting or is interested in applying for the Career Pathway Academy should call Grant Cockrell of Bevill State at (205) 397-0511, ext. 5710.  He can also be reached by email at


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