The Alabama Community College System provides general education, career and technical education, and other collegiate programs at the freshman and sophomore levels that prepare students for transfer to four-year institutions to complete baccalaureate degrees, as well as to Athens State University, an upper division university. To foster academic preparation and future postsecondary success, today’s community college influence also extends into the high schools.
Dual Enrollment programs that allow high school students to take academic coursework at community colleges are common across Alabama, and include all of the two-year colleges except Ingram State Technical College and Marion Military Institute. Colleges partner with area high schools and local Boards of Education to facilitate the cooperative dual enrollment.
The Early College Enrollment Program (ECEP) provides an opportunity for high school students to earn college credits toward a technical or health certificate and/or degree that meets local, regional, or state high-skill, high-wage, and high-demand critical workforce training needs while completing high school.
Wallace State Community College-Hanceville is one of eight community colleges and four charter schools nationwide – and the only institution in Alabama – to be granted funding for a new model program, Fast Track to College Academy, which allows high school juniors and seniors to complete their high school education while attaining postsecondary certificates or degrees. The initial grant of $790,760 awarded by the U.S. Department of Education Office of Vocational and Adult Education will fund the program for five years. The program is targeted to specific career or degree tracks and is similar to dual enrollment in that it offers simultaneous high school and college credit. Fast Track Academy options include health occupations, public safety and automotive manufacturing technology.
Seventeen high school students enrolled last fall in the first Aviation Maintenance Technology dual enrollment class offered by Enterprise-Ozark Community College. The Governor’s Office of Workforce Development, the Covington County Economic Development Commission, and local school districts partnered with EOCC to quickly establish the dual enrollment program in response to the growing aviation industry in Covington County.
A program developed with the assistance of the Knowledge Works Foundation and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation led to the formation of a unique partnership between Wallace State Community College-Selma and Selma Early College High School (ECHS). Students at the innovative high school take a combination of high school and college classes, enabling them to graduate from the high school – the first of its kind on an Alabama college campus – with up to 60 hours of college credit.