Governor of Alabama, Kay Ivey, has recently announced the creation of the Alabama HBCU Co-Op Pilot Program. The program is a part of Governor Ivey’s “Strong Start, Strong Finish” education initiative which puts an emphasis on apprenticeships and work-based learning opportunities. Students who participate in the program will be required to complete three co-op semesters in which they will gain professional experience in their major field of study.
“Alabama is home to the largest number of HBCUs in the nation, and consistently produces some of the most talented professionals in the world. The Alabama HBCU Co-Op Pilot Program will provide students with the opportunity for hands-on work experience in STEM fields and allow for greater collaboration between Alabama’s HBCUs, top companies across Alabama, the state of Alabama and the federal government,” Governor Ivey said. “Our HBCUs are important to the community and our economy, and we must do all we can to support their success, especially as we work to build a highly skilled workforce.”
Nichelle Nix, director of the Governor’s Office of Minority Affairs, added that “HBCUs serve as a leader in graduating minority students, especially in the areas of STEM. Because of this, combined with the economic growth in Alabama’s tech, aerospace and automotive industries, the time is ripe for a conversation to align the priorities of Alabama’s HBCUs with those of the state’s private and public sectors, as well as with the federal government. Crafting a sustainable strategy will help ensure HBCU competitiveness.”
Nix is a graduate of Spelman College in Atlanta. She earned a master of public health degree from Emory University in Atlanta and a law degree from the University of Alabama.
The Governor’s Office of Minority Affairs will distribute applications for the new program to each of Alabama’s HBCUs at the beginning of the Spring 2019 semester.