New Career Technical Dual Enrollment Tax Credit Focus of Bevill State Event
May 27, 2014
L to R: Mark Keller, Seth King, Greg Reed, Dr. Mark Heinrich, Bill Roberts, and Dr. Tom Huebner.
A press conference held May 27 at Bevill State Community College’s Business Incubator focused on a new tax credit recently signed in to law by Governor Robert Bentley that helps high school students pursue technical careers.
The Career Tech Dual Enrollment Act allows businesses to donate money for scholarships and receive up to a 50 percent tax credit for the donations. Donors can direct up to 80 percent of contributions to a specific career technical program at a particular institution.
The dual enrollment program allows eligible students in grades 10 through 12 to take college classes and receive both high school and college credit.
Representatives from Bevill State Community College, the Department of Postsecondary Education, local legislators, area business and industry leaders, and other community educators attended the event and offered their perspective on why the career tech dual enrollment program is so vital to the area.
Bevill State Community College Acting President Dr. Tom Huebner said that career tech dual enrollment classes offered by the college better prepare the workforce in the area and allow high school students a clearer idea of what career they want to pursue. This knowledge leads to higher paying and more rewarding careers.
Dr. Mark Heinrich, chancellor of the Alabama Community College System, called the adoption of the act, “the dawn of a new age in Alabama” when it comes to career education. “We will now be able to expand and accelerate the training of high school students for high-demand, high-wage jobs in our state.”
Recent Walker High School graduate Seth King also spoke at the event and shared his experiences as a dually enrolled student in Bevill State’s Drafting and Design program. Before graduating, King had been enrolled in the program for two years. He entered the program after learning that it would help him combine his interests of sketching and math. “I had no idea that those two interests could come together as a career. Now I am graduating from high school with a clear career path and 33 credit hours toward certification in Drafting and Design with only five courses left to complete the program.”
The benefits of dual enrollment are not limited to those of the student. Mark Keller, president of Fontaine Trailer explained that his business and others can benefit from a better trained workforce. “We sometime struggle filling jobs. We need trained employees who can come in and go to work immediately. I believe those who go through these programs are going to be able to come in our facilities and go right to work.”
Both State Sen. Greg Reed and Alabama Representative Bill Roberts shared why they supported the passing of the Career Tech Dual Enrollment Act during the event and its importance to the college, high schools, students, parents, and business and industry. Given the wide impact the legislation can have, Reed called it a “top priority” of the past legislative session. Roberts said working to pass the new law was on of the highlights of his legislative careers.
The new law allows businesses to begin donating funds in January 2015.
Bevill State Community College has enrolled over 1,000 students in the dual enrollment program since Spring 2013. The top three career tech offerings in the college’s dual enrollment program are Drafting ad Design, Welding, and Computer Science. For more information about the dual enrollment program at the college, visit http://www.bscc.edu/admissions/highschool-early-admissions.php.