Community colleges: Is drug testing part of job training?

Published 1:09 am Friday, February 3, 2017

Drug testing of students in the community college system was among the potential policies discussed at a budget hearing before legislators earlier this week.

Acting Alabama Community College President Jimmy Baker said at the hearing that the community college system is exploring drug testing for students who are enrolled in certificate programs in order to train them on appropriate workplace behavior, since a positive drug test could cost an employee his or her job.

“We have to address the issue somehow, through education or whatever the case may be,” he said.

Senate Finance and Taxation General Fund chairman Trip Pittman, R-Daphne, spoke about it.

“The major soft skill would be, ‘Do you want a job? You do things to hold that job,” he said.

Baker told the Times-Daily that they were talking about it.

“We feel like we can’t afford to spend the money it takes to provide the skilled training programs if we know they aren’t going to be able to get jobs.

Locally, Lurleen B. Wallace Community College President Dr. Herb Riedel said that the college does not have any current plans for a voluntary drug testing program for students.

“We are very interested in the result of any such programs in the state and will carefully assess these as to their suitability for our students,” he said. “We will cooperate with our system office should a statewide program be adopted.”

LBWCC offers a variety of technical programs including automotive mechanics, computer science, cosmetology, diesel and heavy equipment mechanics, esthetics, forest technology, nail technology, medical office administration, air conditioning and refrigeration, industrial electronics, welding, and an array of allied health care programs.