Enterprise State Community College held a press conference on Oct. 15 to announce the addition of five new athletic programs and three new academic programs at the school.

The new sports will include the addition of a women’s volleyball team, men’s and women’s golf teams and men’s and women’s cross country teams. These new sports will bring with them 50 new full athletic scholarships, as well. That will include eight scholarships for each golf team, 10 scholarships for each cross country team and 14 scholarships for the volleyball team. Those scholarships are the full allotment allowed for those sports. ESCC President Matt Rodgers also said that baseball, softball and basketball all currently have the full allotment of scholarships allowed, as well.

“It’s all about creating opportunities for our students,” Rodgers said. “Athletics are important for a lot of communities and we’re recruiting communities, not just individuals.”

Rodgers said that ESCC’s athletic programs will recruit all over but they want to start with the local athletes.

“We have lots of great local athletes and we thought it would be fitting to our already strong athletic programs,” Rodgers said.

ESCC will begin these athletics in the 2022-2023 school year. Rodgers said that ESCC is currently taking applications for coaches for each program and that the school hopes to hire those coaches as soon as possible. Until then, ESCC basketball coach and athletic director Jeremaine Williams will be handling the recruiting prospects.

The athletic program is also in the process of completing upgrades at the baseball/softball complex, which already has a new hitting facility. Additionally, a new parking lot will be constructed along with new restrooms, stands and potentially a new press box.

Also, the school is officially adding three new courses on both the Enterprise and Ozark campuses. Those course will include practical nursing, digital media and advanced composites. Nursing and digital media will be on the Enterprise campus and advanced composites will be at the Alabama Aviation College campus in Ozark.

The nursing program will eventually be a traditional program for prospective students that want to become an LPN but it will begin as a program to help current medical assistants and paramedics bridge into LPNs.

“This program will begin as a bridge program, exclusive to ESCC,” ESCC Nursing Coordinator Amy Phillips said. “This will be a unique training opportunity to take a medical assistant or paramedic and bridge them over into LPN.”

That program begins in January and ESCC is currently taking applications for it. Meanwhile, the traditional LPN program for everyone else will begin in the fall of 2022. The nursing program will have the benefit of having a brand new wing on Wallace Hall that will feature “state-of-the-art” equipment and simulators for the LPN program that is scheduled to be completed this December.

The digital media program will allow for a fine arts degree that will help students go after careers in media that include graphic design, digital animation, 3D visualization, game interactive media design, music and sound design, video production, web design and photography.

“The digital media program enhances our already dynamic (fine arts) curriculum,” ESCC Fine Arts Chair Dr. Ken Thomas said. “The program will help meet the growing needs in graphic designers and other multimedia.”

The advanced composite course at the aviation college campus will help students that want to go into the growing composites industry. Composites are the combination of two dissimilar materials chemically and physically that are combined together to form a product that is stronger than the two individuals. Fiberglass is one of the biggest composite products. Sporting goods, boats, race cars and even helicopter rotors are built with composite materials.

The advanced composites course officially began at Alabama Aviation College on Oct. 18 and the school is still taking applications for new students.

“That demand is out there,” Alabama Aviation College Director Stan Smith said. “The good thing about this program is it is very flexible. It’s hands on – with 40 different projects in the two years of classes – with flexible lab times.

“You just sign up for the slot you want and come in. If you work nights and want to come in during the day or if you work days and want to come at night, we will work with your schedule.”

Instructor Clint Johnson said the course is almost completely hands on and that potential students that don’t find themselves to be “book smart” should not be intimidated because almost all of the work will be done building projects.

ESCC also received two new TRIO grants, which are geared towards low income and disadvantaged students, both adult and high school students.

The school received $232,050 for an Educational Opportunity Center that will help provide opportunities for 850 adult participants – over the age of 19 – in Coffee, Dale, Geneva and Houston Counties with offices in both Ozark and the Enterprise campuses. This program will help with admission applications, financial aid, helping with enrollment and providing resources that could include help with transportation to and from classes.

“The program’s focus is on adult students, 19 and above, that want to pursue post secondary education,” ESCC Dean of Students Kassie Mathis said. “We also know we have lots of student that don’t finish high school and we want to help them obtain a high school diploma or GED and then transition into post-secondary education.”

The college also received a $277,375 TRIO grant for a talent search program to help guide low-income high students towards college. This grant will be focused on eighth grade through senior students at Daleville, Elba, Enterprise, Geneva, Geneva County, Samson, New Brockton and Zion Chapel High Schools.

Mathis said that the program will help the students with applications, financial aid, admissions assistance, career inspiration, ACT prep and college tours.

Rodgers emphasized that all of these programs – both academic and athletic – and the facility upgrades are about creating those opportunities for the community.

“It all goes back to providing opportunities,” Rodgers said. “An opportunity is an opportunity – whether that’s academic or athletic or anything else – and it can change not just an individual’s life but an entire family’s life.

“It can change the trajectory of a family. It’s not about what we want to offer, it’s about what we need to offer.”

More information on applying for any of the new programs being offered can be found at escc.edu. Prospective athletic recruits and their coaches can contact Williams or Rodgers about the possibility of obtaining a scholarship at mrodgers@escc.edu or jwilliams@escc.edu.

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