MONTGOMERY — Residents who choose to attend any of Alabama’s six historically black community colleges (HBCCs) will now have access to more scholarships and professional development opportunities through a prestigious national partnership.
The Thurgood Marshall College Fund (TMCF) announced a resolution Tuesday that establishes the following colleges as members: Bishop State, Drake State, Gadsden State, Lawson State, Shelton State and Trenholm State community colleges. Named after the U.S. Supreme Court’s first black justice, TMCF is a nationally recognized nonprofit membership organization that supports more than 50 historically black colleges and universities.
Alabama’s HBCCs are the first historically black community colleges to be inducted into the TMCF. To date, TMCF has provided more than $300 million in scholarships, programmatic and capacity building support to its member schools and students.
“Adding community colleges to our membership is part of an intentional move toward a more inclusive talent strategy. A four-year degree is one path but not the only path to career success,” said TMCF President & CEO Dr. Harry L. Williams.
“HBCCs play a critical role in local and regional economic development by offering workforce upskilling and reskilling programs. HBCCs across the country offer associate degrees and industry-recognized certificates and credentials that can launch students into the workforce to fill skilled positions that offer good pay without the requirement of a bachelor’s degree. HBCCs also offer students the ability to obtain core, academic credits that can be transferred to a four-year university for a bachelor’s degree.”
Alabama is home to more HBCCs and HBCUs than any other state. The Alabama Community College System’s 24 community and technical colleges add $6.6 billion to Alabama’s economy, supporting one out of every 27 jobs in the state.
“Alabama’s community colleges exist to be a pillar of community for students of all backgrounds to be able to have the resources to reach success, and these national relationships help bolster the advantages and access students have to significant opportunities that support their pursuit of excellence,” said Jimmy H. Baker, Chancellor of the Alabama Community College System.
“The connections students and Alabama’s HBCC leaders will have through the Thurgood Marshall College are bound to strengthen the avenues the colleges provide to residents who trust our colleges with the training they desire for their future.”
Alabama’s community and technical colleges were unified as one system May 3, 1963, when legislators laid the groundwork for a unified system of institutions to focus on accessible training in “arts and sciences and in useful skills and trades” for current and future labor needs. Sixty years have passed, but that important cause remains the singular purpose of the Alabama Community College System (ACCS). With 24 community and technical colleges in more than 130 locations and an economic impact of $6.6 billion, the ACCS is Alabama’s gateway to first-class, affordable education and technical training to compete in a constantly evolving workforce. More than 155,000 Alabamians benefit from the various certification, credential, dual enrollment and degree programs ACCS offers alongside leading industry partners. The System includes the Alabama Technology Network, which provides extensive training and service offerings directly to business and industry. ACCS is governed by the Alabama Community College System Board of Trustees.