Reprinted with permission by The Cullman Times

David Palmer
dpalmer@cullmantimes.com

Randall Shedd is well known for his work through the Commission on Aging and a long political career that eventually led to a seat in the Alabama House of Representatives.

A two-term Cullman County Commission chairman, Fairview mayor and second-term state representative, Shedd became familiar with Wallace State Community College when he enrolled about 25 years ago on an academic track with the intent of becoming a teacher.

Randall Shedd

Randall Shedd

“The instruction was very, very good,” Shedd said. “I was fascinated by everything that was offered, the quality of the instruction and the facilities — all were excellent. I credit Wallace State with opening a lot of doors to understanding, from literature and history to public speaking.”

Shedd earned an associate’s degree, but steered away from education at the conclusion of that time as other opportunities became available. But the learning experience is something that has always proven valuable.

“From my years with the Commission On Aging, I really appreciated that Wallace State provided continuing education opportunities, the chance for lifelong learning,” Shedd said.

“That was something I always encouraged anyone to take advantage of, especially in retirement as a means of remaining engaged and just for the quality of life value that comes from staying in touch with education.”

As a state representative, Shedd also looks at Wallace State and other community colleges as the means of improving economic opportunities across the state and leading people out of poverty.

“Workforce development is vital to our area and all of the state,” Shedd said. “We know that the workforce needs change and that community colleges have the ability to make those transitions successful. I represent almost half of Blount County and Wallace State’s new campus is almost complete. The classes are already meeting and it’s making a difference and I think it will be valuable to the future.”

As a lawmaker, Shedd said discussions are already under way among state government officials on how to further expand the reach of community colleges into areas that are economically disadvantaged. “It could be we see mobile campuses that come to areas where there is little opportunity now,” Shedd said. “This could be an important part of helping people rise up out of poor economic conditions through education that is affordable and produces results.”

Shedd said Wallace State has been an effective leader among community colleges, helping to push Cullman County forward economically with a diverse, well-trained workforce.

“Wallace State is a big plus. Communities colleges are and can play a bigger role. I think we will see more resources being provided to community colleges,” Shedd said.