Wallace Community College in Dothan is getting almost three million dollars in grant money from the U.S. Department of Labor.
The news put Dr. Ashli Boutwell in a good mood.
“I danced a little jig, had a wonderful celebration, and it's just a wonderful opportunity for the college,” said Dr. Boutwell.
Dr. Boutwell worked on securing the grant. She says it will help put Wallace on the map.
“We want people to come to the college and say that's what we want to build in our institution,”
The nearly $3 million will benefit the school's nuclear technology program that begins this fall.
“This grant is going to enable us to purchase some more training equipment that will let the students get their hands on the equipment they will get their hands on in the nuclear plant,” said Tony Kelly, an Industrial Systems Technology instructor at Wallace.
“What we're trying to do is build on the wonderful foundation we have. Yes, it's a lot of money but we can spend it, simulation equipment is extremely expensive,” said Dr. Boutwell.
School officials say the nuclear technology field is growing along with the need for skilled technicians.
“There's about 35-50% retirement rate in the next five years for the different plants around the country and so they're going to have to replace all of those in addition to any new facilities they build they need technicians for that,” said Dr. Mike Babb, Dean of Instructional Affairs at Wallace.
Dr. Boutwell says she hopes students take advantage of the availability of jobs in this expanding industry.
“And this is a wonderful industry for the workforce to get involved in so people who are interested in a high paying job this is a great occupation,” added Dr. Boutwell.
The money will also be used to recruit high school students into the nuclear technology field as well as set up summer camps for interested students.
The Department of Labor is awarding about $125 million in grants to 41 community colleges and organizations.