West Alabama Training Center a tremendous gain for Demopolis

Published 10:00 am Friday, September 8, 2023

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The City of Demopolis gained a valuable community resource in the West Alabama Training Center that opened on Aug. 30. The project has been a long time coming and it has finally come to fruition. 

Like the city boat landing project last year, bringing the training center to Demopolis was a group effort and once again shows how willing different stakeholders are to work together to accomplish a task.

The former National Guard Armory building is housing the training center, to be utilized for several different programs, such as students who are pursuing associate degrees or receiving technical training. 

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Other industries in the area can also use the center for industry training that is specialized to what they need for their workforce.

The training center will offer a variety of programs and courses such as modern manufacturing, HVAC (Heating, ventilation, air conditioning) technology programs, and welding, as well as healthcare training for LPN, RN, and patient care done in conjunction with Whitfield Regional Hospital (WRH).

The training center idea came up not long after Wallace Community College opened its Demopolis campus. The project cost $3.9 million and funding came from the Alabama Community College Board of Directors.

A common theme during the opening ceremony was an emphasis on unity and the fact that no one person was responsible for the center becoming a reality. Each speaker reinforced the fact that a large number of people and organizations had put tremendous effort into funding the project and helping wherever they were needed.

Some of those people were Demopolis Mayor Woody Collins, the Demopolis City Council, the Marengo County Economic Development Board, the Marengo County Commission, Alabama Community College System Chancellor Jimmy Baker, Wallace Community College President James Mitchell, Demopolis Campus Director Blaine Hathcock, and Alabama politicians such as Sen. Robert Stewart, Rep. Prince Chestnut, and Rep. Curtis Travis.

We applaud all the entities that helped make this groundbreaking resource available not only to Marengo County, but to the entire Black Belt region. The center will allow numerous people to pursue career paths that otherwise may have been unavailable to them. It will help to draw in new people to the area and entice people, particularly young adults, to stay in the community.

The West Alabama Training Center is truly a great accomplishment and we can’t wait to see where it goes from here.