Gadsden State Community College recently announced its plans to construct a new 50,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art Advanced Manufacturing Center (AMC) that will be located on the institution’s East Broad Campus.
The center was identified as a project through the Alabama Community College System (ACCS) Achieving Systemwide Potential through Increased Resources and Engagement (ASPIRE) 2030 initiative.
ASPIRE is the result of a statewide bond issue passed by the Alabama Legislature in 2020 to provide funding for facility upgrades and new construction for all levels of education in Alabama.
This program is the continuation of planned for improvements to come at other state colleges, including a workforce center at Snead State Community College in Boaz and Northeast Alabama Community College in Rainsville.
In announcing the plans for the AMC, Gadsden State president Kathy Murphy celebrated the project’s collaboration among local leadership.
“Gadsden State is proud of the engagement we had with local business and community partners in determining that we had a critical need for an Advanced Manufacturing Center that will provide our region with training in several high-demand, high-wage fields,” stated Murphy in a release.
Dr. Alan Cosby, superintendent of Etowah County Schools, said that the center “would greatly benefit the Etowah County Schools by providing programs to students interested in going into technical fields.”
Crosby advised that the Etowah County Career Technical Center has record enrollment for the fall and indicated that the AMC would help it with space issues. Transportation to the AMC will be provided by the school system for students who want to enroll in programs offered at the facility, according to the college.
The Federation of Advanced Manufacturing Education (FAME) program will extend beyond Anniston with a satellite location at the new AMC at Gadsden State.
FAME is a successful collaboration between Gadsden State, East Alabama Works and area industry partners that provides students the opportunity to receive an education as well as paid hands-on training.
In addition to FAME, the AMC will include high-tech laboratory space for programs including mechatronics, industrial automation, precision machining, mechanical design technology, additive manufacturing and electronics engineering.
Gadsden State is driving efforts with programs such as the AMC, truck drivers and truck mechanics programs with partnerships and the support of local businesses.
The goal, Gadsden State noted, was to make sure that a pathway existed for high school students to receive hands-on training in several high-demand, high-wage fields. The initiative is intended to lead students to employment with companies that have chosen to locate their facilities in Alabama.
David Palmore is a contributing writer to Yellowhammer News