LBW takes career exploration on road with Career Cruiser
Published 9:15 am Thursday, April 13, 2023
The Career Cruiser at LBW Community College is an RV on the outside, but the inside brings an endless amount of opportunities as the college takes career awareness and exploration on the road.
Built by Farber Specialty Vehicles in Columbus, Ohio, the recreational vehicle was specifically customized by LBWCC administration.
“The Career Cruiser is an opportunity for LBW to take one more step in bringing LBW to the community,” LBWCC President Dr. Brock Kelley said. “We don’t want to sit on our campus and wait for people to come to us. We want to take LBW to the community and across our service area. One of the biggest areas we can make a difference is through career awareness in our elementary, middle, and high schools. We can see a positive change by removing barriers and providing students with different types of educational opportunities outside the four walls of their school classroom. This RV opens up a world of opportunity for LBW to deliver for business and industry.”
Kelley added that it could also serve as a makeshift classroom for adults in workforce development programs. The RV will assist with several programs on campus including Skills for Success, CDL training courses, trades, and much more.
“I don’t think we put a ceiling on the number of programs we will be able to offer with this. The opportunities are endless, and as far as thinking outside the box, I think that’s what we do well here. Anytime we can help deliver something our community needs or our business and industry needs, this vehicle can be used for a lot of different purposes. Like Dr. Kelley said, it’s an extension of LBW we can take to rural south Alabama and make sure kids are able to experience with their hands,” Director of Workforce Development Chad Sutton said.
They both feel it is important to start career awareness as early as possible.
“In today’s world, the people that get exposed to what we do at a community college like trades are typically the students who don’t get to go to college or did not have it planned. If we can start that awareness at an early age, you’re going to add a lot more students to those opportunities. Our community is full of business entrepreneurs that have a trade as the basis of their business. We forget that because kids go one way academically, and others go another way,” Sutton said.
LBW has a goal of bringing awareness to its motto about college being for everyone.
“What we see across our service area and across the state and nation is the idea that college is not for everyone. Someone could potentially come into this RV and get a certification. You will see this saying on the back of this RV that says college is for everyone. That’s the message we really want to put out there and let people see that postsecondary education is for everyone,” Kelley said.
There are several ongoing discussions about services the Career Cruiser will be able to offer the community.
“The biggest thing is to invite us. We would love to be at Candyland, the Rattlesnake Rodeo, parades, and all of these local events just to provide opportunities. It’s more than awareness about the skills but also an awareness of LBW to be a service to our community,” Kelley said. “We want to provide it to children, young adults, businesses, and industry,” Sutton added.
The journey toward bringing the Career Cruiser to LBW first began in February 2022. College administration started the design stage last summer.
“In the work we have previously done, we have had people deliver these experiences to us. I have had some groups in years past who had a semi-trailer in Indiana. Dr. Kelley has worked with people on other avenues. We thought it was important to be able to do the same and take these experiences on the road. He told me to start looking, and the one we ended up going with was a good fit for us,” Sutton said.
Plans are underway to visit the county’s schools, WOW events, and other functions such as financial aid nights to complete FAFSA applications.
“We’re not limiting ourselves to where we can go with this RV. We may think of something two months from now that we never even thought we could participate in. The possibilities are endless,” Kelley said. “We will soon have some heavy equipment classes out in the middle of nowhere. The Career Cruiser will be a perfect opportunity to do some administrative work and get the classes set up,” Sutton stated.
While a lot of planning will go into the Career Cruiser, the two are excited and grateful to take career exploration on the road.
“We are able to build relationships with all of our community. There are still people in our community that think we are just an institution of higher learning, but we are more than that. I always say this, but we are the community’s college. In order to do so, we have to be in the community, be seen in the community, and provide for the community in multiple ways other than math, English, science, and technical degrees. We have to provide opportunity and knock down barriers,” Kelley said.
For more information about LBW Community College’s Career Cruiser, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
“The Career Cruiser is a great thing for our campus, and we look forward to taking LBW’s career exploration to the community on the road,” Sutton said.