Jefferson State approaches 50 year anniversary

Published 2:53 pm Tuesday, July 1, 2014

By DAVID BOBO  / Guest Columnist

For almost 50 years, Jefferson State Community College has blended a quality education with convenience, value and personal attention. Throughout its history, Jefferson State has been a special place, rooted in the community, helping generations acquire the education they need to have a vastly improved quality of life.

Since its beginning in 1965, Jefferson State has provided excellence in education and workforce training for the greater Birmingham area. Jefferson State instructors have always inspired students to reach their full potential and have always taken great pride in their achievements.

Jefferson State was the first community college in the state to receive regional accreditation by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools in December 1968. It was the first to earn community college status, and it was the first to develop an accredited nursing program in Alabama. Jefferson State also offers the only accredited culinary program in the region.

Jefferson State’s long and storied history dates back to its creation as one of the 12 original junior colleges authorized by the Alabama State Legislature on May 3, 1963. The college’s first students began attending classes on September 30, 1965. Since that day, its focus on being an educational leader in the state has not wavered.

Enrollment that first term in 1965 stood at 1,100. The college now serves approximately 15,000 students each year and is one of the largest community colleges in the state. Jefferson State currently offers more than 120 university transfer programs, 33 career programs, and numerous certificate programs at its four campuses in Jefferson, Shelby, St. Clair, and Chilton counties.

In addition to its four campuses, Jefferson State has established an extensive online presence to allow flexible learning from any location. The college maintains strong partnerships with the community and serves a multitude of high school students through dual enrollment programs.

Jefferson State has earned countless accolades throughout its history. Several recent honors include the college being twice named in the top 10 digital community colleges in the nation, the nursing program receiving “superior” evaluations nationally, and the culinary and hospitality program receiving “exemplary” accreditation ratings. Jefferson State’s accredited online veterinary technology program, the only one of its kind in Alabama, was named as a top seven program nationally. Jefferson State ranks first in the state and 38th in the nation in the number of Associate Degrees Awarded in Registered Nursing. The college’s child development program was the first in Alabama to be accredited nationally. Graduates of the radiologic technology program consistently pass the certification exam at or near 100 percent. The building and construction program won first place in the National Association of Home Builders’ Residential Construction Management Competition, and the college’s Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society chapters have earned top international honors.

Jefferson State has provided countless educational opportunities throughout its history. Today, the college remains committed to its tradition of providing accessible, quality education to the community for years to come.

David Bobo is the director of college and community relations at Jefferson State Community College.