Bevill State Community College
Bevill State Community College Bevill State Community College is a public community college with its main campus in Sumiton, in Walker County. It also has campuses in Fayette, Fayette County; Hamilton, Marion County; Jasper, Walker County; and the Pickens Center in Sumiton. The school was the result of merging the former Walker State Technical College and Brewer State Technical College in 1992. It was named for Walker County native Rep. Tom Bevill (1921-2005), one of Alabama’s longest-serving congressmen and a strong proponent of economic development. Bevill State is part of the Alabama Community College System and has been accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) since 1994.
Several of Bevill State’s predecessors were established after Gov. George C. Wallace and the Alabama State Legislature passed the 1963 Alabama Trade School and Junior College Authority Act. It established the framework for the creation of numerous two-year post-secondary institutions and trade schools under the State Board of Education. Walker State Technical College and the Hamilton Campus of Northwest Alabama Community College, primarily a vocational/technical campus, were created in 1966, and Brewer State Junior College, named for then-governor Albert P. Brewer, opened in 1969 and later established campuses in in Fayette and Sumiton. It would later have a branch at Shelton State Community College in Tuscaloosa, Tuscaloosa County.
Bevill State was established in 1992 when it was consolidated with Walker State Technical College and Brewer State Junior College to form the Sumiton Campus and the Fayette Campus. Bevill State then expanded again by merging with the Hamilton campus of Northwest Alabama Community College in 1993. (Northwest-Shoals Community College was formed in 1993 through the merger of Northwest Alabama Community College’s Phil Campbell Campus and Shoals Community College in Muscle Shoals.) That action was followed by the merger with University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB)/Walker College in 1998, becoming the Jasper Campus of the completed Bevill State campus system. UAB had acquired Walker College in 1993 and dissolved the arrangement in 1998. Walker had been founded in 1938 as a private junior college for whites. Another satellite location was later added to Bevill State with the opening of the Pickens Center in Carrollton.
Present-day Bevill State enrolls approximately 4,000 students across its four campuses and one instructional site. The school offers associate degrees in applied science and long- and short-term certificates. The college has programs in health sciences and career technical education along with standard academic associate degree programs for students who plan to pursue a four-year degree. Programs in the health sciences include an associate degree in applied science in nursing and certificates in practical nursing, paramedic, emergency technical basic, emergency medical technician, and surgical technology, as well as certificates of completion for non-credit in phlebotomy and as a surgical instrument technician. The Workforce Development Division offers a certificate of completion as a nursing assistant. The school offers distance learning options through online courses and hybrid courses based on in-class lectures and web-based assignments. The Pickens Center is home to a library, bookstore, Student Center, and administrative offices for the college, such as the business office and student services.
Bevill State has also established partnerships with a number of universities in the region to assist students transfers to four-year bachelor’s programs under the Statewide Transfer and Articulation Reporting System (STARS). The arrangement enables students working towards an associate degree to obtain a transfer guide and agreement for the major they wish to pursue at partnering institutions. For instance, Bevill State students may transfer to the University of Mississippi-Tupelo in a number of programs, including accountancy, business, criminal justice, education, general studies, liberal studies, paralegal studies, and social work. Another partnership, with Athens State in Limestone County, trains teachers through education classes offered at Bevill State. An arrangement with the W. James Samford Jr. School of Business and Professional Studies at Huntingdon College in Montgomery, Montgomery County, offers working students an evening bachelors program in which classes are offered one night a week in five-week sessions with three five-week sessions per semester. A partnership with UAB allows students to earn an associate degree and transfer into the bachelor’s degree program at UAB with full admission.
Carl Elliott House Museum In 2019, Bevill opened the Workforce Solutions Rapid Training Center in Jasper with the assistance of a 2017 grant for $1.9 million from the Appalachian Regional Commission. It offers training related to industry needs with accelerated training programs in commercial trucking, welding, rigging, hydraulics/pneumatics, healthcare, and “print reading,” a way of relaying information about systems and equipment from the drafting table in the manufacturing industry. Officials with the Alabama Community College System said at its opening that they intend for the center, along with other schools, to help meet Gov. Kay Ivey’s goal of adding 500,000 credentialed workers to the state labor force by 2025. To help with enrollment, the center and the Alabama Department of Labor provided jobseekers affected by the decline in coal production up to $1,000 for retraining at the center.
Bevill State also offers the Success of Women in Career Tech Scholarship, a need-based scholarship for women who are interested in pursuing a technology degree. Funding is provided by the Women’s Fund of Greater Birmingham for the study of advanced engineering design (drafting), air conditioning and refrigeration, auto body repair, automotive service excellence, diesel, electrical systems, machine tool, and welding.
Bevill State supports baseball, softball, basketball, and volleyball teams who are represented by the Bears in the Alabama Community College Conference. The college owns and operates the Carl Elliott House Museum, which interprets the life and career of Walker County politician Carl A. Elliot Jr.