Arkansas community colleges host summer day camps for community youth through June and August 2019. Mostly free of charge, these camps focus on future career paths in manufacturing, industrial technology, computer science and design, robotics, welding, healthcare, diesel technology, hospitality, and mechatronics, as well as general science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) curriculum. These career focuses are industries projected to experience the most growth in Arkansas over the next decade. Colleges are investing in local youth to allow for more skilled workers to fill these jobs in the future.
In 2017, Tyson Foods launched an internship program for college students in connection with the University of Arkansas Cossatot. Paid internship positions in refrigeration and maintenance were made available year-round to any UA Cossatot student enrolled in industrial technology courses with starting pay ranging from $12 - $14 per hour.
Tem Gunter, Human Resource Manager of Tyson Foods in Nashville, says “The internship program is a success. Students are gaining valuable work experience and making connections in their chosen field.” Adding, “We’re excited to see interns transitioning into full-time maintenance team positions and look forward to inviting new talent into the program.”
Saline County voters had passed a sales tax that will provide money for the Saline County Career and Technical Center, which will be devoted to high school students from the county's six school districts. The center will be about 120,000 square feet and serve approximately 500 students, said Angie Dischinger, Bryant's assistant superintendent of secondary education. Instruction will be provided by College of the Ouachitas staff and will count for college credit.
When Arkansas Northeastern College opened its new Center for Allied Technologies, it consolidated three facilities, enhanced its role as a leader in custom training and education and brought the world to its doorstep.
Built for more than $14 million, the center opened on the Blytheville campus at the outset of the school year and will offer customized training for the manufacturing industry, cohort programs in a number of fields and career-based programs for secondary students who can also earn college credit.
Hot Springs, Arkansas – National Park College (NPC) began a Department of Labor Office of Apprenticeship approved Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning (HVAC) Apprenticeship Program in 2017.
The College established the program with feedback from local HVAC contractors who expressed the need for an apprenticeship model of training. “We really need employees that can work during the day and go to school at night,” stated Jason Vincent of Grisham AireCare, who is currently serving as Chair of the NPC HVAC Apprenticeship Advisory Committee. “The apprenticeship model is beneficial to newer employees because they are getting not only classroom knowledge but hands-on experience in the field that reinforces what they are learning.”
NPC decided to close its one-year HVAC technical certificate program after enrollment declined with plans to restructure the program to better meet the needs of local industry. “We have been discussing the best format for this program with our local contractors for several months now, and everyone agreed that an apprenticeship model is the best way to ensure HVAC students receive the best possible training to prepare them for work in the field,” stated Kelli Albrecht, Vice President for Workforce and Strategic Initiatives. “We have received support from partners around the state, including our Department of Labor liaison, the state apprenticeship office, the state HVACR Association, and our local contractors.”
One unique aspect of this program is that pre-apprentices are allowed to participate in the classroom training, which means a student can begin classroom training before securing a job with a contractor. Local employers hope to use the program as a recruitment tool to hire apprentices.
Other opportunities may be incorporated for high school juniors or seniors that are interested in a career in HVAC and could include evening classes and hands-on experience with local contractors during the summer. Upon graduation, students could potentially work full time while they complete the apprenticeship.
Currently seven local HVAC contractors have agreed to send their newer employees to the HVAC Apprenticeship program, including Daniell Heat and Air, GTS, Grisham Air Care, City Plumbing, Heating and Electric, Climate Control Heating and Air Conditioning, Knox AC and Heating, and the Garland County Sheriff’s Office. The program may expand in the future to include more experienced employees that could benefit from a national credential. “Once a student completes the training they receive a national credential from the Department of Labor,” stated Albrecht. “This credential will allow students to work in any state as an HVAC Technician.”
The apprenticeship model of training is a combination of on-the-job training and related instruction in which workers learn the practical and theoretical aspects of a highly skilled occupation. Nationally, apprenticeship programs have been on an upward trend in recent years. The U.S. Department of Labor reports that 1,700 new apprenticeship programs were established nationwide in FY 2016. Arkansas has 88 active apprenticeship programs and saw 21 new programs in 2016 alone.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts demand for qualified, well-educated HVAC technicians will grow to grow 14 percent from 2014 to 2024, much faster than the average for all occupations, according to BLS. The BLS expects the demand will be driven by commercial and residential building construction, the growing number of sophisticated climate-control systems, and increased emphasis on energy efficiency and pollution reduction.
Enrollment for the NPC HVAC Apprenticeship Program will be ongoing throughout the year. Classes will be held on Tuesday and Thursday nights from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. Contact Community and Corporate Training for registration information at 501.760.4393 or 501.760.4135.
National Park College (NPC), US Stations and Lloyd’s Auto Sales announced the recipient of the Second Chance Scholarship Friday. Registered nursing student Crystal Sibley was surprised with the award during class.
Sibley is a non-traditional student returning to complete a degree after leaving high school in tenth grade more than 25 years ago. She completed her general education development (GED) diploma at Garland County Community College (now NPC) in 1994 and went on to complete certified nursing assistant training.
At an open house event on October19, 2018, the University of Arkansas Cossatot Lockesburg Industrial Maintenance Institute (LIMI) was commended as a model for the rest of the state and a successful collaborative educational effort among higher education, K-12 institutions, local industries, and state agencies by key industry, government, and education leaders.