Enrollment up across Alabama Community College System academic courses, workforce programs

Published 2:45 pm Tuesday, December 5, 2023

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Spring enrollment in Alabama’s community and technical colleges is already surpassing last year’s numbers, following a record level of enrollment in fall semester classes and a third consecutive year of enrollment increases statewide.

LBW Community College reached a record-breaking 2,119 students for fall semester, a 9.74 percent increase from last year’s enrollment. A 7 percent increase in first-time freshmen along with almost 1,000 dual enrollment students enrolled, contributed to a 5% increase in credit hours compared to last year.

LBW President Dr. Brock Kelley attributes the enrollment increase to the dedication of College employees. “Our faculty and staff are working diligently to improve resources and provide our service area with a variety of educational pathways.”

“We recently met with our advisory committees, which provide guidance in helping us develop appropriate and adequate curriculum for our career pathways. In addition to providing courses for degree seeking students, LBW is also committed to helping individuals learn skills and receive credentials through our workforce and adult education departments.”

LBW’s Adult Education Program has increased its headcount by 17.5 percent and completion rate by 80.6 percent this year, serving 524 students and awarding 1,210 certificates. In addition, the program has seen an astonishing 115.4 percent increase in high school equivalencies, with 56 completions to date.

Workforce development and noncredit programs are also on the rise. LBW’s Skills for Success, a free skill training program where students earn workforce credentials within a weeks’ time, has been instrumental in meeting the needs of local industry. Over 350 certifications have been issued this year, with top-performing training in commercial driver’s license (CDL), heavy equipment, and food and beverage.

LBW Workforce Development and Continuing Education have expanded apprenticeship programs to include Welding and Nursing, in addition to introducing pre-apprenticeships in Mechatronics, Diesel Technician, and Welding.

Statewide, Spring registration is already up more than 17% from this time last year. The growth represents the third consecutive year in which enrollment is up across the Alabama Community College System, bucking national trends for community colleges that only just recently grew by about 4 percent in the fall term, according to the National Student Clearinghouse.

“Enrollment increases are great news that mean more residents are interested in training that will help them achieve success, but it’s more than just education and credentials at Alabama’s community and technical colleges that residents are after,” said Jimmy H. Baker, Chancellor of the Alabama Community College System.

“Residents and employers are interested in the partnerships, wraparound services, scholarships and career services that their local community colleges are offering, and we, by nature of being embedded in the community, must remain responsive to the local workforce needs. Supporting our communities is what this System was created for 60 years ago, and that is what we will continue to provide.”

Spring semester at LBW begins Jan. 8, 2024. Register for courses by visiting www.lbwcc.edu.