City presents Bevill State with $100,000 to aid in workforce development, career tech

Jasper Mayor David O’Mary and city council members presented a $100,000 check to Bevill State Community College president Dr. Joel Hagood prior to Tuesday’s Jasper City Council meeting. 

The donation to the college will be used to increase dual-enrollment workforce development and career technical programs available to Jasper High students. 

Hagood said city leaders have met in the past with officials from other, larger cities, with an emphasis on recruiting business and industry to Jasper.

“Bevill State wants to be the catalyst for that,” Hagood said. “And we can be a catalyst for that. We are working to develop a partnership, in particular with dual-enrollment opportunities as far as workforce is concerned.”

Workforce scholarships are available at Bevill State, Hagood said, “but, of course, nothing is free. But for students that are eligible for that, there’s no cost. But the scholarships only go so far.” he said. 

To that extent, Hagood said Bevill State is seeking alternative funding sources to fill that gap. “We don’t want to turn any kid away,” he said. 

“I’m pleased that the city is in a financial position to be able to support the young people of this city,” O’Mary said, “and the money that was given to Bevill State will be used to do just that.”

O’Mary said having Bevill State located in the city is key to the success of our young people.

“Bevill State brings some really nice opportunities to our young people to pursue education in the various technical fields. Again, I’m pleased that the city’s financial condition was such that we could support our young people.”

The working relationship between the city and Bevill State is “a wonderful recruiting tool for the mayor and city with respect to business and industry coming to the city,” Hagood said. 

“There’s no question about that,” O’Mary said. “When industrial prospects see that that’s the mindset of the city to help the young people by providing technical education, that’s a big plus. When businesses and industries see those type relationships, they’re more willing to invest in your community.”

Similar relationships exist between the college and Pickens County. “A lot of those kids are going to get their associates degree at the same time they get their high school diploma,” Hagood said. “That opportunity is there and available, and we want to communicate that better and expand it and make it available to Jasper High students.”

The college already offers welding and machine tooling programs, and Hagood said the plan is to add app development and coding, and possibly, robotics programs..

“All of those are high wage, high demand opportunities for students,” Hagood said. “If they can get that jumpstart their sophomore year in high school, by the time they graduate they can be there with an associate degree or right on the edge of receiving it.”

“There’s no question that it’s a great investment for the city,” O’Mary said.

“The mayor and city council made both an investment and a statement today,” Hagood said. “This action will help serve as a significant recruiting tool for prospective business and industry.”

The council also recently agreed to raise its annual contribution to the college from $50,000 to $60,000.

In business conducted during Tuesday’s council meeting, council members:

•approved the appointments of Mary Moore and Jasmine Casey to the Jasper Housing Authority Board.

•approved the reappointment of Patti Poe and the appointment of Shirley Mitchell to the Northwest Alabama Mental Health Board.

•adopted a resolution to allow O’Mary to enter into an agreement with the Jasper City Board of Education related to a public mountain biking trail on unused portions of Jasper High School property.

•introduced amendments to the city’s budget to provide funding for paving and sidewalk projects, and to provide funding to purchase a compressor for the Jasper Fire Department. The cost of the projects and compressor is $244,000.

•heard a report from city purchasing agent Derleda Abom on tree removal service in the city.

•approved Abrom’s request to renew contracts for on-call concrete services, pool chemicals and portable restrooms. 

•adopted a resolution to request ALDOT permit approval for a sidewalk project on Alabama Highway 69.

•adopted a resolution to approve the cost of providing electrical service to six lighting fixtures at Blackwell Meadows subdivision. The electrical service will cost the city $72.18 a month for all six lights. 

•approved a resolution to place several properties under the city’s nuisance abatement ordinance.

•adopted a resolution to amend the city v=boundary at 113 Hollis Crump Drive.

•introduced an ordinance to amend an ordinance pertaining to the city’s parks and recreation board. 


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