MONTGOMERY, Ala. – The Alabama Community College System (ACCS) is joining with other organizations throughout the country in celebrating February as Career and Technical Education (CTE) Month.

More than 54,000 students are enrolled in the System’s CTE programs and courses, making the ACCS a vital provider of career and job-training services across Alabama. ACCS also works closely with other organizations, including the K-12 system, on career and technical education initiatives.

“Alabama’s economy is undergoing a transformation, generating more jobs that required advanced skills and greater technical expertise,” ACCS Chancellor Mark Heinrich said. “The community college system is playing a critical role in making sure that the state’s workforce is up to the challenges.”

The System’s colleges have 152 CTE programs and more than 4,000 individual courses. Students can receive short-term and long-term industry-recognized certifications in technical disciplines, enabling them to quickly enter the workforce. Associate’s degrees are also available in many CTE fields.

ACCS has CTE programs in welding, aviation, machining, nursing, health sciences, automotive, electronics, industrial maintenance, and many other fields. Nursing is a particularly important career field for the System, as nearly two-thirds of the nurses in Alabama are a product of ACCS schools.

The System’s workforce development programs are aligned with the priorities of Accelerate Alabama, the state’s strategic economic growth plan. The System also works closely with business and industry throughout the state to ensure that its workforce development programs are meeting employment needs.

“Our basic function is to provide the linkage between education and training and employers seeking skilled workers,” said Terry Waters, the System’s senior executive president for economic and workforce development. “The training our colleges offer is an enormous asset to the state of Alabama and puts us in the important position of helping to provide a pipeline of workers necessary for new and existing industries.”

Waters said ACCS is working closely with the K-12 system to expand access to ACCS technical training courses for high school students through dual enrollment programs, with the aim of dramatically increasing the number of students actively training for high-wage, high-demand careers.

In addition, ACCS last year worked with more than 900 Alabama businesses to provide customized training for nearly 45,000 individuals.