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Bevill State Community College Receives ARC Grant for New Utility Vegetation Management Program

September 09, 2021

The Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) announced the approval of a grant in the amount of $199,465 to Bevill State Community College to establish a Utility Vegetation Management (UVM) program. The project will serve 100 students and 1000 workers/trainees by May 2023.

The UVM project will create a career-readiness indicator certification program offered as non-credit for existing business and industry training and a short-term certificate offered for credit from Bevill State Community College. The project will focus on non-credit training for current Alabama State Department of Education agriscience teachers and existing business and industry employees who wish to upgrade their skills. Additionally, the credit-bearing short-term certificate will focus on high school students participating in dual enrollment opportunities in Bevill State's service area. By partnering with the Alabama Urban Forestry Association (AUFA), BSCC can expand its curriculum to meet area business and industry needs. Fayette, Lamar, Marion, Pickens, and Walker Counties are all at-risk counties in Alabama's Appalachian Region that this grant project will serve.

“Bevill State has a long-standing relationship with the Appalachian Regional Commission and Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs (ADECA). We are very appreciative of those relationships and the support of our legislators when it comes to innovative projects such as the Utility Vegetation Management program,” stated Dr. Joel Hagood, President of BSCC. “Forestry-related industries in Alabama are among the state’s largest employers. However, utility companies are having a difficult time finding capable, trained employees to maintain utility rights-of-way. With many current employees reaching retirement age the need is even greater. Governor Ivey’s Success Plus Initiative sets forth the goal to add an additional 500,000 workers to the Alabama workforce by 2025, resulting in 60% of working age adults holding a certificate, credential, or degree. Partnerships and projects like this are what will help business and industry in Alabama meet those workforce needs.”

“When I first became aware of this opportunity to support the utility companies and forestry industry in our state, I contacted the administration of the College. I have worked alongside Bevill State on several workforce projects. They have the knowledge and experience to make this a viable program to help move Utility Vegetation Management forward in Alabama. I was glad to be involved in helping Bevill State secure this grant.” Senate President Pro Tem Greg Reed 

The UVM project builds on the very successful Urban Forestry Certification Program (UFCP) currently being taught as non-credit for certification and recertification to professionals and students throughout the state of Alabama. The delivery method of training will include a blend of face-to-face instruction and web-based instruction.

About Bevill State Community College (BSCC)
Bevill State Community College is a public, two-year, "open door" institution, committed to providing comprehensive education and educational support services for people in West Central Alabama and beyond. Bevill State is a member of the Alabama Community College System. Bevill State's four main campuses, and one instructional site, offer university parallel and applied technology educational opportunities to over one-quarter million people in a seven-county area. This service area spans over 4,600 square miles, from the Birmingham city limits to the Mississippi state line.

About the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC)
The Appalachian Regional Commission is an economic development agency of the federal government and 13 state governments focusing on 420 counties across the Appalachian region. ARC's mission is to innovate, partner, and invest to build community capacity and strengthen economic growth in Appalachia and help the region achieve socioeconomic parity with the nation. More information is available at www.arc.gov.

For more information contact Tana Collins-Allred at 800.648.3271 ext. 5742 or by email at tana.collins@bscc.edu.  Please visit our website at www.bscc.edu.