October 20, 2011  


College Awarded High-Tech Workforce Training Equipment

Northeast Alabama Community College continues to obtain state-of-the-art, high-tech equipment for use in training area workers. Recently, the Alabama State Board of Education approved two grants for Northeast to be utilized in this training. These grants were made through State Workforce Development funds and will permit the purchase of industrial robotic training equipment ($73,000) and a virtual welding machine ($63,500). The funds particularly are designed to help reduce unemployment in the twenty-three Alabama counties with the highest rates of unemployment, which includes DeKalb County. Alabama Community College System Chancellor Freida Hill recently notified NACC President David Campbell of these awards.

The equipment will be used in the college’s Industrial Systems Technology (IST) Training Center. This Center provides training in industrial maintenance, welding technology, machining technology, and instrumentation. This fall an Engineering Technician/Technology program also was added to the Center.

“Our IST staff and faculty, directed by Dr. Mike Kennamer, has done a great job in pursuing these grants,” stated Dr. Campbell stated. “They have worked with local industry officials to determine the exact type of training equipment that is needed in our area.” Campbell noted that more and more robotics training is being added to Northeast programs and that the grants for robotic training equipment will be used for this.

A grant to the college for workforce training by U. S. Congressman Robert Aderholt has permitted Northeast to add some $280,000 in equipment for a coordinate measuring machine, orbital welding, and to expand the college’s programmable logic control laboratory. Other training equipment for the Center was obtained through the Governor’s Office of Workforce Development ($550,000), the Alabama Technology Network ($120,000), the donation of robotic equipment from local businessman Don Stout, and the college’s own funds. In all, the IST Center contains more than 1.5 million dollars in training equipment. The Center complex itself was purchased and renovated by Northeast.

“We think that providing a training facility like the IST Center is extremely important to our area,” Campbell stated. “With TVA’s plans to renew construction and the opening of Bellefonte Nuclear Plant there are going to be many jobs available in these fields. Also, with all the plant closings and layoffs that have occurred in recent years not just locally but nationwide this training gives people the opportunity to start new careers.”

For more information about these programs, contact the Office of Workforce Development at or telephone ext. *2254.