January 8, 2009


ARC Grant Will Fund Career Counseling Center

Alabama Governor Bob Riley has notified officials at Northeast Alabama Community College
that $100,000 in Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) funds have been reserved for the
college to establish a career counseling center. This Center, in particular, will assist students in selecting career fields in order to become productive participants in the workforce.

“We are very appreciative for this opportunity,” stated Dr. David Campbell, NACC President. “America is changing dramatically in regard to careers and the training needed to pursue them. This grant and resulting center will be beneficial in helping us guide students into the workplace of the future.”

The funds will permit Northeast to establish a Career Center on campus and hire a counselor to work with students in making career decisions. Counselors in the Career Center will work closely with high school counselors, GED Instructors, local employers, and students to disseminate information regarding careers and educational opportunities. Personnel staffing the Center also will administer career interest inventories; help with resume writing and job search skills, and job placement. “The counselor will, of course, work in helping students decide on careers that require four-year degrees and beyond as well,” Campbell stated. “Reports have shown that there are shortages in many fields requiring four-year degrees, such as education and engineering. Northeast has a very strong academic transfer program and the counselor will advise students on careers in these areas as well.” Campbell noted that NACC is a part of an articulation agreement that guarantees that core classes are accepted for transfer to Alabama’s public four-year colleges and universities. Athens State University operates a university center on campus at which students may obtain their four-year degrees at Northeast through classroom and online courses in specific fields. Additionally, the college recently signed an articulation agreement that permits students to complete their baccalaureate degrees online through Troy University.

“Our personnel particularly will work with local school leaders to provide students with information on careers in technical fields,” said Dr. Joe Burke, NACC Vice-President and Dean of Instruction. “Those of us in education are well aware that students need to be informed of opportunities in these technical fields, the jobs of the future, as early as middle school. We want them to know early the great opportunities that are out there.” Burke and Julia Everett, NACC Librarian, headed committees that prepared the ARC grant. Tonie Niblett, Dean of Student Services, will supervise and coordinate the Career Center with assistance from Mike Kennamer, NACC Director of Job Skills Training and Workforce Development. “This is another important student service that we at Northeast look forward to providing,” Dean Niblett stated. “Deciding on a career often is very challenging for students and this will help them in that process greatly.” College officials hope to have the Career Center in operation for the Summer Semester term. Campbell noted that NACC Administrative Assistant Nancy Griggs also was very instrumental in assisting with the Career Center planning and grant application.

Northeast also is partnering with other community colleges in the Alabama Workforce Development Regional Council 2 District on a grant proposal that will provide career coaches to area students. These career coaches will work with students in local schools as early as the seventh grade to provide them with information and guidance in choosing careers in technical fields. NACC officials have received the assistance of area school superintendents in efforts to establish this counseling program. College officials note that this counseling service will greatly benefit students in selecting technical careers and work hand-in-hand with the NACC Career Center. “The Career Coaches concept is a very innovative approach to not only helping students choose good careers, but in improving the overall quality of the workforce in North Alabama,” Campbell stated.

“We in education and industry are trying to better inform students and their parents about job opportunities that are now available in technical fields,” Campbell added. “There always have been some very good careers in these areas, but the way our economy is changing, there are going to be more and more opportunities in technical fields.”

Mike Kennamer pointed out, “Currently, the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) is recruiting for their training programs. These training programs require a 2-year technical degree, and those selected for the program earn approximately $40,000 to $60,000 per year just during training. We are also looking forward to new job opportunities in technical fields that will be provided by the planned Volkswagen plant in Chattanooga.”

For more information about the programs and services at Northeast, explore this website and contact the offices listed.