WCCD receives $245,297 grant award for Applied Engineering program

Wallace Community College–Dothan was recently awarded a grant from the Alabama Community College System’s Workforce Development Division in the amount of $245,297.60 for the College’s Applied Engineering Technology Program. The grant will provide funding for new lab equipment and simulation software to be incorporated into the existing Applied Engineering Technology program on both the Wallace Campus in Dothan and the Sparks Campus in Eufaula.

“The award will provide equipment to address the growing need for training of Industrial Automation technicians, with a focus on mechanical knowledge and soft skills training using flexible delivery modes,” said WCCD Associate Dean, Career Tech Martha Compton. “WCCD collaborates with business and industry to make sure that we offer in-demand training and industry-recognized credentials, through short- and long-term credit and non-credit programs.”

The new technology will enhance the Applied Engineering program’s training in multi-craft maintenance with a focus on mechanical and electrical skills needed by entry-level workers as well as prepare students to earn their required certifications.

The local demand in fields like Industrial Machinery Mechanics is expected to grow from 690 employed in 2016 to 800 jobs projected by 2026, a 16.04% change with 1.49% projected job growth. With local employers reaching out to WCCD in their search for highly trained technicians, it’s clear that current demand is outpacing available graduates. The new Applied Engineering technology will address hiring needs by developing a pipeline of qualified Automation Technicians, assisting employers in maximizing their investments in manufacturing equipment and increasing graduates’ employability in advanced manufacturing environments.

Several local businesses added their industry endorsement to the grant proposal, including Allied Motion, Automated Control Systems, Cook’s Saw Manufacturing, Hyundai Polytech America, Johnson Outdoors Marine Electronics, Michelin, Pilgrim’s Pride Corp, and the Alabama Career Center System-Dothan Career Center.

For more information on the Applied Engineering Technology program at WCCD, please contact Martha Compton at mcompton@wallace.edu or 334-556-6822.