Community college to open in Prattville
By Brad Harper
PRATTVILLE — If you’re looking for the advanced manufacturing class, it’ll be above the nail salon.
Central Alabama Community College plans to open a facility this fall on the second floor of the Pratt’s Mill strip center, with a focus on workforce development and training for some of the area’s most in-demand jobs. That includes manufacturing and health care education, as well as noncredit training programs for some of the most sought-after skills, like truck driving.
“There’s a huge demand,” CACC President Susan Burrow said. “We cannot fill that void.”
The area’s elected leaders seem to agree. A parade of officials from two counties, two cities, two school systems, a chamber of commerce and even a state senator spoke Wednesday under a sweltering sun in the strip center’s parking lot. Each cheered the announcement and talked about the need.
State Sen. Clyde Chambliss said the center, near the border of Elmore and Autauga counties, is in one of the state’s fastest-growing areas. There are plenty of jobs there that require technical training but there’s no technical college nearby, he said.
“Our students are either traveling to other areas or just not going,” Chambliss said.
“There’s a tremendous demand for the workforce, with unemployment being low. That’s a great thing, but it’s hard to find employees.”
From left, Prattville Mayor Bill Gillespie, Kyle Glover of the Prattville Area Chamber of Commerce, and Alabama Sen. Clyde Chambliss unveil plans for community college classes at Pratt's Mill Center. (Photo: Brad Harper / Advertiser)
Wednesday’s announcement was in the works for more than five years, bolstered by the success of classes the college offered at night inside Stanhope Elmore High School. Burrow said the new location at 2078 Fairview Ave. will allow them to teach daytime courses and offers room to grow.
“Our very best hope is we expand and have to get into planning immediately for that expansion,” Burrow said.
Chambliss went a step further, calling the location a “temporary site.”
“Hopefully it will grow really fast, which I think it will, and then we’ll begin another process of where that permanent facility is going to be,” he said.
You can see more about the school at www.cacc.edu.