South Ark Leading Workforce Readiness – New Hubs Uk

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With a recession looming and the biggest unemployment rate rise since the 1930s likely to continue, training people to find viable local jobs is critical.

Workforce readiness, especially in skilled occupations and manufacturing industries, has been emphasized in recent years. Consider “Dirty Jobs” by Mike Rowe.

The LEARNS Act, a sweeping overhaul of Arkansas’ education recently signed into law by Gov. Sarah Sanders, requires schools to give students the opportunity to earn a diploma through high school education through “career preparation courses.” It focuses on “Modern Career and Technology Studies Tailored to Arkansas’ High-Paying, High-Growth Jobs.”

At the same time, jobs are becoming more complex and worker safety is a priority not only for those on the factory floor, but also for those who employ them.

That’s where South Arkansas Community College comes in.

Southark offers a wide range of research programs, but workforce development is the main focus. SouthArk’s president, Dr. Bentley Wallace, said the university’s job is to foster economic growth and having a trained workforce is key to that effort.

“The role of the university is to foster economic growth in our region. , if we weren’t able to do that, making these quick changes would not only fail to serve our students well, but would also fail our mission of fostering economic growth locally,” he said. .

To ensure that students can leave Southark with everything they need to get a job closer to home, the community college works closely with employers across the region to offer programs select and design the curriculum.

“Curriculum decisions are made by our local employers,” Wallace said. “Universities use advisory boards made up of production, human resources and safety experts from their employers, and they decide what our curriculum is. It teaches you what to teach to help you become an employee.”

For example, when grants became available to start a forestry technology program last year, SouthArk jumped at the opportunity.

Forestry accounts for 5% of Arkansas’ GDP, according to the University of Arkansas-Monticello, and earned $3.1 billion in labor income in 2017, according to the University of Arkansas Extension Office.

Wallace said earlier this month that Southark will offer its first credited forestry technology class this fall.

According to SouthArk, the average hourly wage for forestry workers in Arkansas is $22.

Also coming this fall are new medium and heavy truck technician programs available to both high school and college students.

SouthArk received more than $1.1 million in grants last year to upgrade existing automotive labs and other facilities on the East Campus for the program.

“The construction projects are being carried out for the expansion and renovation of the Automotive Technician Space and the conversion of the old Industrial Technology Building into a new Transport Technology Center, the Automotive Technology Classroom, the Truck Program laboratory and research space,” he said. Wallace said. He noted earlier this month that final preparations are being made to start construction work this summer.

SouthArk is also updating its welding program. This is another course of study available for high school and other students.

Wallace said an $835,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Labor and a $734,000 grant from the Delta Regional Authority will fund the expansion of the university’s welding capabilities and the training of non-credit welders.

The welding facility at the East Campus will also be updated starting this summer, he said.

Southark’s largest study program is nursing, and the community college announced earlier this month that its currently offered Licensed Practical Nursing (LPN) program was now available to high school students for the first time in the state. Did. Local high school students can begin a Nursing Fundamentals course in their third year and take a Nursing course in their fourth year.

“It’s a quick program because you can take the national nursing exam as soon as you turn 18,” Wallace said. (Arkansas Department of Skills Development), Southark was the first university to launch and still has students.”

The expansion of the nursing program will help address the critical nursing shortage that is being felt nationwide, said program director Michelle Moseley.

“We are in a new era,” she said. “If you know this is what you want to do, why not do it in high school? If I had the choice, I would have done it.”

Another growing industry is computer technology, which accounted for 9% of the country’s GDP in 2018, according to the US Bureau of Economic Analysis. Wallace said Southark now offers courses that allow students to earn proficiency and technical certifications, and the university hopes to expand the program over the next few years.

One step SouthArk is taking to do just that is established esports, a type of organized competitive video game.

“This is an area that we need to expand into, and one of the things we’re doing is launching esports this year,” Wallace said. It’s a great way to attract students to college who are primarily majoring in computer science or computer science classes.”

Creating an esports team will allow SouthArk to recruit gamers. Gamers are people who may be more interested in research programs in computer technology.

The team will be launched this fall, and will be a member of the National Junior College Athletic Association e-sports next spring.

SouthArk also offers Criminal Justice, Culinary Arts, Industrial Engineering Technology, Electrical and Instrumentation, Industrial Maintenance, and Chemical Process Technology in its catalog of Career and Technical Studies.

Wallace says SouthArk’s mission as a community college is different than what a four-year college aspires to be.

“Usually two-year colleges are very close to the needs of local employers. Four-year colleges have great partners, but two-year colleges get people to get an education and then move on to the next. “We are working to get them to move through the stages as quickly and affordably as possible.” “Some graduates go on to four-year degrees. Most end up working locally. “

With Eldorado and Union County’s populations declining, SouthArk strives to keep local students close to home and fill high-demand jobs at fair wages.

“SouthArk continues to be a leading educational institution for work readiness in Southern Arkansas. We train highly qualified and safe employees for secondary, staying home after graduation,” Wallace said.

South Ark Leading Workforce Readiness – New Hubs Uk

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