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Drake State Student Represents Community Colleges at Legislative Orientation


MONTGOMERY, Al. – On Tuesday, December 9, J.F. Drake State Community and Technical College student Robert Will, had the privilege of addressing our state’s freshmen legislators as the select representative of the Alabama Community College System during the opening session of the Legislative Orientation.


At the invitation of State House Speaker Mike Hubbard, Mr. Will joined two other presenters who offered remarks from a ‘real’ Alabamian perspective. “Instead of me relaying stories to you about the impact we can have, I thought I’d ask some individuals who have felt the impact of legislation we’ve passed here to share their stories with you,” said the Speaker in his opening remarks to the freshman legislators.


Mr. Will, an Electrical Engineering student at Drake State, was first to address the newly-elected officials.  He spoke about the educational and experiential value of the Alabama Future Workforce Initiative legislation, as he was a direct beneficiary of the Career Technical Dual Enrollment Program for which this legislation will provide additional funding in 2015.


“All students should be gifted this opportunity because it not only helps them learn what to do with their future, but it allows them to get there quicker,” said Mr. Will. He saw Drake State’s Career Technical Dual Enrollment program as a great means to receive college credit for the physics and calculus classes he had to take while he was still a student at Sparkman High School.


“When Drake offered me this opportunity, they not only allowed me to earn credit, but they also gave me a chance to go to a selective school,” Mr. Will stated. He added that he found the experience to be invaluable to him as it saved him both time and money, and, most importantly to him, it allowed him to enter directly into his major.


“Mr. Will’s presence at the Legislature Orientation was so important because it allows new legislators to see how important dual enrollment is to our educational system,” said Annette Funderburk, Special Assistant to the Executive Director for Governmental Relations at the Alabama Community College System, who attended to session on behalf of the System’s Chancellor, Dr. Mark Heinrich. “These [dual enrollment] scholarships will allow other students to be successful like Mr. Will. We are very proud of him.”


Starting January 1, 2015, the Alabama Future Workforce Initiative, approved earlier this year, will provide a 50 percent state income tax credit to individuals and businesses donating funds toward Career Technical Dual Enrollment programs. Such training opportunities, available through the two-year college system, are expected to help meet the industry workforce needs of Alabama's expanding businesses. Contributors can designate up to 80 percent of their funds to particular training programs, with the balance spent on needs determined by the Department of Postsecondary Education. Representative Mac Buttram sponsored this bill in March.


For additional information, please contact Yibeli Galindo-Baird at or 256.551.3136.

***Watch Mr. Will's presentation here.

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