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Southern Union to have open house

By Leigh Anne Butler

Southern Union State Community College is slated to offer local students multiple ways to get a jump start on their careers.  Two meetings, focusing on technical careers and high school dual enrollment, are scheduled in the upcoming weeks. 

The Technical Division of Southern Union’s Opelika campus is hosting an open house on Thursday, April 15 at the Center for Integrated Manufacturing in Opelika from 4:30 p.m. - 7 p.m.     

Shawn Mitchell, Technical Education Career Coach at Southern Union, explains, “We will take people on tours around our facility and show them the advanced technology that we use to earn a degree.” 

Information sessions will happen every fifteen minutes beginning at 4:45 and ending at 6:45.

Programs in the technical division prepare students for high-wage, high demand technical careers in just five semesters.  Programs are available in the following areas; machine shop technology, automotive service technology, additive machine repair, mechatronics, air conditioning and refrigeration, engineering and design, plastics engineering technology, welding and cosmetology.  Scholarship opportunities are available in select programs. 

Mitchell elaborated and explained one of the areas, mechatronics.  “Mechatronics is the study of mechanical equipment and electronics equipment.  With a mechatronics degree, you would keep a manufacturing or production plant from losing production time.  If anything breaks in the plant, you would be the one to fix it.  You keep the plant from losing money if production stops because a robot or line breaks.  You will know how to fix the problems, and fix them fast to keep that plant in production.” 

Local high school students that are interested in dual enrollment at Southern Union can participate in a virtual parent information meeting on Tuesday, April 20 at 6 p.m. 

Dual enrollment is a program created to earn college credits while in high school.  It is a cost-effective way to earn transferrable college credits towards a future college certificate or degree.
To qualify for dual enrollment, students must be in grades 10, 11 or 12 and have a minimum cumulative (unweighted) high school grade point average of 2.5 on a 4.0 scale.   

Eddie Pigg, Associate Dean of Institutional Research and Academic Advancement, explains, “We will cover everything that parents and students need to know about our dual enrollment program like benefits, costs, application process, how to register for classes, and scholarship opportunities.  Representatives from the Academic, Health Sciences, and Career and Technical divisions will be on hand to answer all of your parents’ and students’ questions.”   

Parents must register online for the meeting at

For more information on either meeting, visit Southern Union State Community College’s website at or call (334) 745-6437 ext. 5490 for the Technical Open House or (334) 745-6437 ext. 5513 for the Dual Enrollment meeting.