College Curriculum Evolves As Industry Demands Change

COLBERT COUNTY, Ala. (WHNT) – The Shoals area has been in the news a lot lately when it comes to industrial recruitment and landing several rather large manufacturers.

With each new announcement comes the demand for specialized workers, and who is taking the lead role in training potential employees?

On the outside it may look like any other junior college campus, but Dr. Humphrey Lee, President of Northwest Shoals Community College said there are special things going on here.

Lee said instruction here is constantly evolving, and it’s becoming one of the biggest industry recruiting tools the Shoals has.

“In addition to infrastructure, roads, utilities, water, electricity the other part of the equation is the work force,” stated Lee. “And the facilities to train those workers.”

According to Lee, an example of the evolving programs is the addition of a plastics molding course to train students at Northwest better.

Dr. Lee said an instructor is currently working shifts at the plastic auto parts manufacturing facility of TASUS in Florence.

“We want to teach what they want us to teach, and emphasize the points maybe our workers are deficient in. So we want to address those needs first and foremost,” explained Lee. “So in a way, it’s sort of customized training.”

And Lee added they are constantly working with manufacturers, even in the recruitment phase, to make sure the college can offer what the employers need.

School officials said they will have the new plastics molding equipment and curriculum up and running in time for the spring semester next year.