Jeff State director: Growth has been “unbelievable”

Published 2:40 pm Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Chilton County’s campus of Jefferson State Community College is experiencing growth on an unparalleled level.

That’s the message Guin Robinson, Jeff State’s director of Institutional Development, gave to members of the Chilton County Chamber of Commerce during Tuesday’s luncheon.

“It’s about 18 months ahead of where we thought we would be — unbelievable,” said Robinson. “It has surpassed any new start we’ve had anywhere.”

For this spring semester, 522 students were enrolled at Jeff State’s campus in Clanton.

Robinson attributed the growth to two things: a great need in the community and support from local leaders and residents.

“We saw an incredible need from the college that you were being underserved,” he said.

Robinson said Jeff State’s students come from all walks of life, including those fresh out of high school, workers who have lost their jobs or want better jobs but need more training, and adults who have decided to go back to school.

“There is really no ‘typical’ student,” he said.

Though accreditation and other details are still being finalized, Robinson said it’s possible the school’s nursing program will begin this fall.

Beyond its for-credit classes, the school is also experiencing growth in non-credit classes, including workforce development programs like iCADEMY.

Robinson also thanked local leaders and community members for their help in bringing Jeff State to Chilton County, including former State Rep. Jimmy Martin and Clanton Mayor Billy Joe Driver and the city council.

Robinson said he believes the best days are ahead for Jeff State but that all colleges and universities are in tough times financially, at least for the next couple of years.

“These are quite possibly the most difficult times (since the beginning of the community college system),” Robinson said of the poor economy. “It has hit the colleges very hard.”