BRTC, ASU awarded workforce grants | News | #education | #technology | #training

JONESBORO — Black River Technical College and five campuses of the Arkansas State University System were awarded workforce development grants for projects designed to connect innovative educators, employers and economic development organizations to promote job growth.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson formally presented the grants Tuesday in Jonesboro in advance of a meeting of the Career Education and Workforce Development Board.

“The goal is that industry guides our workforce training,” Hutchinson said.

Nine organizations will share in $8 million for large-scale workforce development projects.

In all, 15 applicants submitted projects in January. The nine grant recipients were selected by the workforce development board following “shark tank” style presentations

BRTC was awarded $1.339 million to develop a truck driver training program offered at no cost to individuals. The program has the potential of training up to 500 drivers within the next three years. Graduates will be able to go to work immediately, making a living wage in the trucking and transportation industry, helping to alleviate the transportation crisis in Arkansas and around the nation.

ASU-Beebe, Searcy Campus, was awarded $686,661 to develop a robotics curriculum designed to prepare students who wish to become robotics technicians. With curricular support from ASU-Beebe’s Industrial Technology, CNC and Welding Technology programs, participants will be trained to engineer and operate automated manufacturing, specifically at local companies such as St. Jean Industries, Lomanco and others.

ASU-Mountain Home will get $1.239 million to provide a composites program that serves marine manufacturing. The program was designed in collaboration with local boat manufacturers and prepares graduates to work locally at companies like Ranger, Vexus, Basscat and Shawnee Boats.

Two ASU System campuses are working with Clark County Workforce Training Group for regional millwright and industrial maintenance training. The new consortium, composed of Clark County businesses and industries, the Arkadelphia Area Chamber of Commerce, ASU Three Rivers, Henderson State University and the West Central Arkansas Planning and Development District, will invest in industrial maintenance and millwright training equipment to augment current training programs. The consortium was awarded $421,315.

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