The icademy is readying to open its doors in January to students in the Pell City and St. Clair County school systems, offering an opportunity for high school students to graduate from high school with college level skills they need to land a good paying job in today’s and tomorrow’s marketplace.
The program is beyond books, helping prepare students for jobs of the future with hands-on learning in robotics, welding, pneumatics and manufacturing.
In return, the dual enrollment program provides local industries with a qualified workforce with the specific skill sets they need.
It is an evolving and visionary partnership of entities -- Alabama Office of Workforce Development, St. Clair County Commission, St. Clair County Industrial Development Board, Jefferson State Community College and the two public school systems -- which is turning heads around the state.
And rightly so. It is a program to watch as it develops and one to emulate as the success stories likely emerge.
In the past, educational entities traditionally taught the skills they thought the business community needed but rarely initiated the kind of dialogue that produces programs tailored specifically to those needs.
That gap in communication is changing. These are powerful, results-oriented conversations taking place between the community college system and the business community, and the potential they can have should be beneficial for both.
Jefferson State and St. Clair County are leading the way with the icademy, and its impact should be far reaching.