Gadsden State Community College, Northeast Alabama Community College and Snead State Community College recently entered an agreement to partner with Marshall Technical School to provide local students more opportunities.

Essentially, the partnership will strengthen the quality of the Marshall County’s workforce development. Students will now be able to earn college credit while in high school that easily transfers to any of the three colleges with no need for any type of remedial course.

“Today’s signing allows us to not say, ‘Well you can’t do that program because Snead or Northeast doesn’t offer that,’” Dr. Philip Cleveland, supervisor of career and technical education for Marshall County Schools, said. “Now, if our community college partners offer it, our students in Marshall County and benefit from it.”

Marshall County Schools Superintendent Dr. Cindy Wigley met with Gadsden State President Dr. Martha Lavender, Northeast Alabama President Dr. David Campbell and Snead State President Dr. Robert Exley at Marshall Technical School on Thursday to celebrate the union between the institutions and sign a memorandum to make the partnership official.

“The Alabama Community College System has an initiative entitled ‘Dream and Do It,’” Lavender said. “You can’t ‘do it’ if you don’t have a pathway for that to occur. We know jobs in Alabama and across this nation are going to largely career technical jobs that will meet the needs of our workforce. And so, at Gadsden State we are very pleased to be a part of this partnership… I look forward to great things.”

Campbell expressed his appreciation for Marshall Technical and said he was excited to see what the future holds for the school and its partnering institutions.

“I’ve always admired what Marshall Technical School does,” Campbell said. “It’s a very progressive school, and I could tell just being here how organized it is. So, we look forward to accomplishing some very good things in the future. Working together with Dr. Lavender and Dr. Exley, I think we can offer just about any career tech program that’s needed here in Marshall County.”

Exley said the partnership was one that would not only benefit the students, but it would be an incredible asset to the colleges as well.

“I know without a doubt that there’s no way Snead State, own our own, can meet the needs of Marshall County Technical School,” Exley said. “So, I really appreciate our colleagues stepping up and saying, ‘We’ll do that.’”

Exley said the next steps were for the colleges to take an inventory of what’s at Marshall Technical School and what’s needed for dual enrollment, and then determine which institution can “make it happen.”

Wigley said she had been looking forward to the day for a long time.

“I want to say thank you to our post-secondary partners and to everyone that had a hand in making today happen,” Wigley said. “Anytime we can come together and remove barriers for students and provide a seamless pathway for them, that’s what we need to do.”

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