Jeff State college officials meet with local leaders

Published 3:40 pm Friday, December 6, 2013

Jefferson State Community College officials held a “community coffee” event Wednesday at the college, providing an update for local leaders and seeking input.

“If we’re not wrapped around the community, and we’re not doing what’s important to you, then we’re not doing our jobs,” Guin Robinson, development director at Jeff State, told those in attendance.

The growth of the Chilton-Clanton Center was a popular topic. Robinson said the 606 for-credit students enrolled in 2012 was a 506-percent increase over the enrollment of 100 when the center opened in 2008.

“The growth here has been pretty phenomenal,” Robinson said.

Robinson and other college officials talked about the need for more grants to support dual enrollment, where a high school student enrolls in college level courses while finishing his or her high school career.

“Once a parent or student really understands what dual enrollment is, or what it can do, it’s really a no-brainer,” he said.

According to information distributed at the event, Jefferson State’s four locations received a total of $50,000 in dual enrollment grants in 2012-13, down from $68,000 the previous year.

Kay Potter, who handles non-credit students at the college, pointed out that Jeff State offers workforce development, corporate training, government training, online learning and career programs.

“When these people go through these programs, they are job-ready,” Potter said.

Christine Brown with the Clanton Conference and Performing Arts Center located adjacent to Jeff State said she has made an effort to include students with efforts at the CPAC.

“In the last year, we have made some major changes over there,” Brown said.

Judy Merritt, president of Jefferson State Community College, was also present at the event.

She talked about attending the pinning ceremony for the Clanton center’s first class of nursing graduates in August.

“I thought it would be a small crowd, but the auditorium was packed,” Merritt said. “I think it says a lot about the pride the community takes.”