Troy Moon, Pensacola State College
Just a few weeks into the job as the new Pensacola State College Century Center director, Alex Andrews met with leaders of the town located at the northern edge of Escambia County at a Chamber of Commerce meeting.
Andrews met with the Mayor of Century, Benjamin Boutwell, as well as area business leaders to discuss issues such as economic development, health care concerns and, of course, education.
“I want to do what I can to ensure that Pensacola State College is a staple in the community and to understand the needs of the community,” said Andrews, who previously was a civics teacher in the Escambia County School District, and earlier, the Okaloosa County School District. “PSC, as a whole, offers so many opportunities and I want to identify the needs here in Century so we can help meet those needs.”
Andrews earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from the University of West Florida and is finishing his Master of Education degree at UWF in College Student Affairs Administration. He will earn his master’s degree in August. He also served as a student ambassador while earning an associate degree at Northwest Florida State College.
Currently, the main staples offered at the Century Center are the welding certificate program and GED training.
But Andrews said PSC is receptive to what the leaders and residents of Century desire for their community. In the past, the PSC Century Center offered a cosmetology program, which Andrews said might be resurrected in the future.
“Maybe a medical program or a cosmetology program would be beneficial here,” he said. “I would also love to see more dual enrollment students here, so they’re introduced to PSC and see the opportunities available.”
PSC President Ed Meadows said Andrews “comes to PSC with great community college experience as a student ambassador at Northwest Florida State College. We are looking forward to his ideas and energy in promoting our Century Center programs and course offerings.”
Andrews said he wanted to move from a middle school teaching environment to a college setting because he believes he can be more effective in teaching life skills to college students.
“When I got into education, I wanted to make a difference in students’ lives and help them be successful adults,” he said. “But there was a lot more emphasis on test scores and not as much opportunity to teach the life skills they will need to be productive as adults. There is a lot more flexibility in higher education.”
He said Pensacola State excels at helping students learn skills that will help them move into the workforce. He noted that of the eight Century Center welding students who will graduate in August, five have already found jobs in the field.
“We need to find those workforce gaps that can be filled by our students,” Andrews said. “We want our students to be successful not only in college, but after college. That’s the whole point of what we do.”