Coastal Alabama Community College ended 2022 with a bang by being awarded the Governor’s Work-Based Learning Seal of Excellence for a nursing apprenticeship model announced earlier this year. Coastal Alabama received the overall award, competing against work-based learning models from the seven workforce regions across the State.
In mid-November, staff from the Nursing & Allied Health Department and the Workforce Development Department at Coastal Alabama presented the apprenticeship model as a best-practice in the State of Alabama. This model allows nursing students to get paid while completing required clinical hours for the program. Due to the success of that program, Coastal has since added a Surgical Technology apprenticeship program with Infirmary Health that kicks off this coming spring. “We are excited about our existing and growing apprenticeship programs,” Dr. Craig Pouncey, President of Coastal Alabama Community College, said. “Our students depend on us to get creative to help them meet their career goals, and apprenticeships only help them and the industry partners in the area who are looking to connect with qualified, dependable employees.” In late March of this year, Coastal Alabama and Infirmary Health signed the first nursing apprenticeship model in the state, and since then, the College has obtained several more industry partners to assist students in program requirements while meeting workforce needs in the area. The College has 30 students projected to take advantage of the apprenticeship program this coming spring with half a dozen clinical affiliates. “This first apprenticeship was so beneficial, and it allowed us to break through barriers in nursing education to take advantage of work based learning opportunities in the field of nursing,” Dr. Tiffany Scarborough, Dean of Nursing and Allied Health at Coastal Alabama, said. “Our team is on fire as we continue to explore more opportunities like these to help our students earn while they learn.” The workforce needs in south Alabama continue to grow in the allied health industry, especially after the COVID-19 pandemic. Because of this need, Coastal Alabama has added a Medical Laboratory Technology program and a Medical Assisting Technology program, both of which begin spring semester 2023. Due to popular demand and request, Respiratory Therapy is in the pipeline with an anticipated first admission in spring 2024. Of course, the staple programs such as Associate Degree Nurse (Registered Nurse, RN) and Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) continue to grow. Coastal Alabama proudly is the largest Associate Degree Nurse training provider in the region with 500 ADN students at any one time and seven separate admittance periods and locations throughout the year. The LPN program is also rapidly growing with three separate admittances on the Atmore Campus in a given year. The Thomasville Campus also provides LPN training in the Coastal footprint. Coastal Alabama Community College’s Workforce Development Office has been steadily making the College’s name an industry standard. This year, Coastal Alabama provides more registered apprenticeships than any other college in the State. Last year, the Industrial Maintenance apprenticeship model was awarded the Governor’s Award for Best Work-Based Learning Program in Region 7. Since then, apprenticeships have been added in fields that vary from Accounting Technician to HVAC Servicer to Airframe Mechanic. “Above all, Coastal Alabama Community College remains committed to its mission – to invest in the success of ALL students, to provide excellence in teaching and learning, and to advance community development,” Pouncey said. “Apprenticeships only emphasize these areas while providing financial support for the students who take advantage of them.”