SCCCC hosts second annual Industry Open House
Published 1:47 pm Friday, October 23, 2015
By EMILY SPARACINO / Staff Writer
COLUMBIANA – Area industry and college representatives were invited to tour programs at the Shelby County College and Career Center in Columbiana during an open house recently.
Fifty-five industry and post-secondary partners came to the SCCCC campus Oct. 15 to talk to students and see facilities for the center’s 11 programs, including Automotive Technology, Culinary Arts, Healthcare Science and Cosmetology.
“It’s just a day that we dedicate to opening our doors during the school day to our industry and post-secondary partners,” Principal Russ Cofield said of the center’s second annual open house. “We’ve built a lot of connections from last year. We’re always trying to build new connections.”
Olivia Odom, who is in the Co-Op program, was one of several student ambassadors showing visitors around campus.
Odom said she has taken classes in the Culinary Arts program, which features a newly renovated industrial kitchen.
“We cooked really everything,” Odom said.
Across campus in Drafting Design Technology, Steve Brooks spoke with Brett Pritchard and Barbara Anne Spears with Central Alabama Community College about the program’s offerings for students interested in architecture or engineering.
“I treat this more as a college preparation,” Brooks said, noting the program teaches students how to use computer-aided design and tools like three-dimensional printers. “Kids really enjoy that because they’re able to take the designs they do and print them out. (They are) using a computer to do what everyone used to do by hand.”
Pritchard said since CACC also offers drafting and design, students at SCCCC can start earning dual enrollment credit before they come to CACC.
“It gives them a head start,” Pritchard said.
Automotive Technology instructor Robert Irwin said his students start by learning the “basics” about brakes and brake systems, and then they move on to other systems, including front end suspension and alignment, steering, electrical, ignition, fuel and engine cooling.
“This semester, we’re going to go bumper to bumper,” Irwin said. “Every minute counts in this business. The more you know, the better off you are.”
The facility Automotive Technology students use on the SCCCC campus mirrors professional facilities, and students are able to construct and de-construct parts, as well as work on real cars.
“This is a fabulous facility, and I look forward to producing some top quality students if I can,” Irwin said. “I think we’ve got some sharp kids.”
Other programs the center offers are Collision Repair Technology, Healthcare Science, Construction Technology, Landscape Design Technology, Public Service Academy, Cosmetology, Welding Technology and Robotics and Automated Manufacturing.
“There’s a huge gap in our workforce between jobs available and workers available (who are) qualified individuals that are able to meet that need,” Cofield said. “We’re trying to fill that gap. A career tech program that has relationships with local industry over time increases enrollment and better prepares our students for careers.”