Culverhouse to kick off annual LIFT program


Jackson Fuentes, Contributing Writer

The University of Alabama’s Culverhouse College of Business will begin its annual Learning Initiative and Financial Training (LIFT) program for the fifth year in a row on Sept. 10.


The LIFT program provides classes and tutoring free of charge to any member of the Tuscaloosa and West Alabama community who is looking to improve their marketability. More specifically, classes focus on training individuals in software such as Microsoft and Quickbooks. It also offers classes for professional development, business communication, iPhone and iPad skills, GED exam preparation and reading literacy.


“We have about 50 plus classes a week in the community, and we have about 500 people involved in the business school,” said Lisa McKinney, director of the LIFT program. “Every single one of the people involved is a UA student.”


The program serves individuals in the community by offering classes to high schoolers, adults seeking employment, prisoners and senior citizens. The classes are free of charge.


“We hope that we will be able to fill holes that people have in their education and provide this education on a free basis,” McKinney said.


LIFT volunteers use the opportunity to foster a bond between community members and college students at the University, said Jessica Stroh, a graduate student studying accounting.


“The goal is to connect students with service-learning opportunities while providing a free education to some community members who are in search of that as well as to bridge the gap between the University and the community of Tuscaloosa,” Stroh said.


Christianna Mason, a graduate student studying accounting, also said the program brings the community together.


“I feel that the benefit, the obvious one, is that it brings the school community closer with the Tuscaloosa community,” Mason said. “I think that is just so important for the University students to have that experience and opportunity to get to know the community outside of the University.”


Students can learn the skills necessary to lead in a classroom environment and become a successful business leader, McKinney said.


“A true business leader is a compassionate person that can deal with people from different backgrounds,” McKinney said. “We believe that a true, valuable and good business leader will know how to deal with people coming from different backgrounds, from diverse backgrounds and will be able to communicate.”

McKinney said LIFT emphasizes leadership and communication, providing students the opportunity to use both skills in a classroom setting.


“It’s part of learning communication, it’s learning social skills, it’s learning how to lead in a classroom environment,” McKinney said. “That’s kind of the concept for the student, the true experiential learning experience.”