“A date has not been set,” said Guin Robinson with Jefferson State Community College, who also serves as chairman of the county workforce development board. “It will probably be mid to late January.”
The new 8,000 square feet facility will house the Icademy program, which began this fall quarter at the Jefferson State Community College site in Pell City.
Officials say the new dual-enrollment program will help prepare Pell City and St. Clair County high school students for nursing and other high technology jobs of the future.
“We have said all along this is the way dual enrollment programs should be developed,” Robinson said.
He said a strong partnership was formed between Jefferson State Community College, various county entities, local businesses and industries, and the local school systems.
“It’s an incredible partnership,” Robinson said. “And first and foremost, for the County Commission to provide scholarship funds is amazing,”
The Alabama Office of Workforce Development helped secure a $250,000 grant to help start up the Icademy program, and the St. Clair County Commission contributed another $200,000 as startup money for the dual enrollment program for high school students.
Robinson said county officials are investing in their most important resource, the youth of St. Clair County.
The Icademy allows high school students to enter the program free. The program will help prepare local students for local jobs of the future.
The Icademy facility is actually owned by the St. Clair County Industrial Development Board, which leases the building to Jefferson State Community College.
The new facility, located on the Jefferson State Community College Pell City campus, will provide instructional space for welding, pneumatics, robotics and general advance manufacturing curriculums.
“We all came together to help put this program together, which will help shape the future workforce for St. Clair County,” said Don Smith, director of the St. Clair County Economic Development Council. “Not only are we excited about it, but folks across the state are excited about it.”
The new program is a model for other communities across the state to follow, Smith said.
“The technological needs of local industries are advancing faster than some of the training can keep up with,” he said.
Smith said the Icademy will help provide a quality workforce.
“It provides a place for people to go for state of the art training for state-of-the-art jobs,” he said.
“It looks wonderful,” said Danielle Coburn, director of instructional sites for Jefferson State Community College. “It’s a really nice looking building.”
Jason Goodgame with Goodgame Company of Pell City, which built the Icademy building, said the facility recently received a “certificate of occupancy.”
He said the facility has offices and classrooms in the front portion and a large open area in the back portion for hands-on training.
Equipment is being moved into the new facility in preparation for students after the Christmas holidays.
“They are working pretty hard getting all the equipment in there,” Goodgame said.