David Bobo shares update on Jefferson State’s commitment to creating opportunities

Published 3:25 pm Wednesday, March 13, 2024

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By NOAH WORTHAM | Managing Editor

COLUMBIANA – An update was given on the state of programs and initiatives at Jefferson State Community College during a luncheon on Feb. 8.

Jeff State’s Director of Communications David Bobo provided an update on the state of the college’s programs during a Chamber Connections Luncheon by the Shelby County Chamber on Feb. 8 at Old Mill Square in Columbiana.

“My life is really in education and in all the things that we can do in our county to help make that better,” Bobo said. “Hopefully (you) will see some of the things that we’re doing and how we’re trying to move forward on economic development (and) education because so much of it is one word, ‘jobs’ and people who can do those jobs. That’s what we’re doing.”

Jefferson State Community College offers more than 120 university transfer programs, 33 career programs and numerous certificate programs at its four campuses that service the Birmingham area, including Jefferson, Shelby-Hoover, St. Clair-Pell City and Chilton-Clanton.

Bobo provided a variety of statistics on the current state of Jeff State, including that the college hosted 14,117 students last year with 3,265 students in dual enrollment and 2,121 on fast-track.

One of the unique aspects of the college Bobo discussed is its 20-21 student class size as compared to the 300 plus that might be found at a different college. Bobo also shared that 42 percent of Jeff State student body are first generation students.

“We’re still really good at getting those students in, getting them what they need and then them going on,” Bobo said.

Bobo discussed the relationship the college has with the University of Montevallo and emphasized that the two colleges are not competitors.

“We’re really not competitors, we are partners,” Bobo said. “(There are) a lot of different kinds of students that might go to Jeff State or might go to Montevallo but we are strong together. And (it’s great) how our students are coming to Jeff State and them seamlessly transferring and going to Montevallo.”

Bobo provided a breakdown of the different programs at Jeff State including Career Technical Education which comprises roughly 29 percent of the student body.

“We are proud of these programs,” Bobo said. “I can’t tell you how so many of these are in-demand and you’re going to go on and make a career and be able to provide for your family and do some wonderful things.”

He provided the example of a radiology technologist and how that program boosts a 100 percent job placement rate. Bobo also highlighted the benefits of its recent respiratory therapy program and how the college is listening to feedback from its partners on what programs to start next

“Now, I’m proud to say our graduates are going to work, making great money and they are in-demand,” Bobo said.

Bobo shared that eight percent of its students are in short certificate training programs which are referred to as fast-track and typically last from six week to six months.

“These are life changers for a lot of our populations,” Bobo said. “(It’s for) people who don’t have time to go to two-years or four-years or anything like that.”

Bobo highlighted Jeff State’s dual enrollment and high school program which encompasses 33 percent and provides the opportunity for students to work ahead.

“There’s so many great things about it,” he said. “You’re getting really prepared for college while you’re still at home.”

Bobo shared that there 3,265 students in dual enrollment programs with 101 different courses for 64 different high schools. Bobo also shared that the dual enrollment program is a great way for parents and students to save money.

During the luncheon, Bobo shared that the 65 percent of students were at in-person classes before the COVID-19 pandemic and since then the numbers have returned to 54 percent.

Bobo shared the cost of tuition at Jefferson State Community College which is at $4,032 for a full year and $8,064 for two years—making it a more cost-effective option for some students and families as compared to other local universities.

He continued by highlighting Jeff State’s various support options for students as well as its recent initiatives such as surgical technology, its workforce education center and welding center.

Bobo concluded his message at the luncheon by highlighting the work educators do in granting young people opportunities.

“You’re making a difference in them and getting them so prepared for life and giving them opportunities,” he said.