April is National Community College Month
April 09, 2018
LBWCC trains tomorrow’s workforce
It is a growing concern throughout the country that there are not enough skilled workers to replace retirees and fill the workforce needs of a growing number of occupations.
Occupations such as welding, industrial electronics, and nursing, among many others, are growing in need for a trained workforce, with graduates obtaining employment in high-demand, high-wage fields.
According to research conducted by Georgetown University, growth in healthcare employment is remarkably resilient. As the population ages and as advances in pharmaceuticals, medical technology, and healthcare practices make it possible to treat more diseases, demand for skilled workers in these areas will continue to grow.
LBW Community College offers career technical training in several healthcare programs, including nursing, diagnostic medical sonography, surgical technology, emergency medical services training, and medical office administration.
The economy continues to shift toward industries that are growing and requiring more education of their workers. This, combined with the retirement of highly educated Baby Boomers, is a leading cause behind the ever-increasing demand for higher education in the labor market.
The economy, which is always in flux, is demanding more training and higher education across most industries. Some of the increased demand in higher education is due to technological changes or shifts in an industry’s technology that favors more skilled workers.
Several of LBWCC’s programs are producing a high number of qualified, skilled workers, while the market’s demand continues to climb. Even though community colleges across the country are training for high-demand, high-wage jobs, it is already difficult to find enough workers with the needed skills.
Moving goods across the country and transportation to and from work require diesel trucks and automobiles to remain in good running condition. LBWCC’s automotive mechanics program includes high-tech diagnostics training in addition to engine repair, while the diesel and heavy equipment mechanics program trains mechanics to keep diesel engines in good running condition. This program is also now teaching gas engine repair to prepare mechanics for the changing needs of companies turning more and more to trucks with natural gas engines.
The service professions are also increasing in educational demand. LBWCC’s cosmetology, esthetics, and nail technology programs provide students the opportunity to learn business skills in addition to the program-specific training. This allows a better understanding of how to successfully operate a business of their own.
Additional career technical training offered at LBW include forest technology, providing trained workers for federal and state park services as well as numerous timber-related industries; computer science, with training on the latest programming languages and computer-related hardware and software; and child development, where students learn age-appropriate educational play techniques that can be applied in day care and preschool settings.
LBWCC’s technical programs include state-of-the-art training with hands-on, real-world experience. Nursing, diagnostic medical sonography, and surgical technology students participate in practical training onsite at hospitals, nursing homes, and other healthcare facilities. The emergency medical services program prepares first-responders to treat injuries and sustain lives until arrival at hospitals and trauma units.
Technical training at LBWCC takes place every semester throughout the year. We offer a number of certificate and short certificate programs designed to prepare students for immediate job entry in selected professional, technical, and occupational skills areas. Other programs lead to Associate in Applied Science two-year degrees.
High school seniors preparing to graduate are encouraged to consider getting a head-start on their training and other high school students can take dual enrollment classes this summer. Career technical training scholarships are available for dual enrollment students, and Pell Grant funds are now extended year-round, including summer.
There’s no better time to get started on your chosen career path. We’re here to help you learn the skills you need. For more information, visit www.lbwcc.edu.
Cost comparison saves money
As we celebrate National Community College Month in April, it is a great time to highlight the cost savings associated with attending LBW Community College compared to four-year institutions.
With high school graduations set next month, students and parents are likely thinking about the next step in the educational process. Students are often shocked to learn that postsecondary education is not free to attend.
However, at LBWCC and other two-year colleges in Alabama, tuition and fees are much less costly than going straight to a four-year university. For less than half the cost, students can earn college credits for general education courses for the first two years of their chosen program of study before transferring to obtain a bachelor’s degree.
As a comparison, in the most current information available online for the top six universities to which LBWCC graduates transfer, cost savings just for tuition and fees for full-time students can average between $1,884 to $4,014 each semester depending on the specific university. Over the course of four semesters, those savings could total $7,536 to $16,056 left in your pocket or not increasing with interest in a loan.
Those figures do not include the cost of housing or transportation. Some universities are within a commuting distance to LBWCC’s service area, so be sure to calculate how much gas and vehicle maintenance it would cost to attend for two years on top of the higher tuition and fees.
If attending other four-year institutions with housing required, then be sure to factor in the added cost of dormitory or apartment rent, utilities, and other related costs associated with living away from home.
When in need of financial assistance to attend LBWCC, there are several opportunities students can pursue. The U.S. Department of Education offers Pell Grant funds to qualified students, which do not have to be repaid. The online application, available at www.fafsa.gov, opens October 1 each year. When applying for Pell Grant funds, be sure to supply LBW’s school code, 008988, so that our financial aid department will receive the information needed to process payments.
Scholarships are also an avenue of financial assistance, whether through LBWCC, one of its two supporting foundations, or scholarships offered from organizations in the community and online.
Additional funding opportunities include Federal Supplemental Education Opportunity Grant (SEOG), Workforce Investment Act (WIA) funds through local workforce centers, Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) funds for those who lost their job as a result of foreign trade, Vocational Rehabilitation scholarships, and U.S. military veterans educational assistance funds.
In addition, LBWCC has a partnership with NelNet Business Solutions to offer a tuition payment plan with up to three payments, depending on how quickly the application is received.
Although LBW does not participate in the Federal Direct Student Loan Program, we cooperate with private lenders who offer alternative or private loans. LBWCC offers an online loan comparison tool called FASTChoice, which is designed to assist in making an educational loan choice that best suits the individual’s need. Please keep in mind, however, that FASTChoice is not a lender.
Academic courses taken at LBWCC transfer to all public and most private four-year institutions in Alabama due to articulation agreements. It doesn’t matter what the student selects as a major, the basic academic courses available locally are taught at the same level by faculty required to have the same credentials as those teaching at universities.
Considering the cost comparison, it makes good economic sense to enroll at LBW Community College, earn an Associate Degree to enhance earning potential, then transfer to the four-year institution of your choice.
There’s no better time to get started than summer semester. Pell Grant funds are now extended year-round. Contact us for more information, or visit www.lbwcc.edu.