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SouthArk to Receive $3,904,257

Posted on September 19, 2013

Originally published in the El Dorado News-Times on September 20, 2013.

Eight community colleges in Arkansas will receive a total of $10.5 million to expand education and career training programs for high-skill fields, such as advanced manufacturing, transportation, healthcare and science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), according to a news release sent Thursday from U.S. Senator Mark Pryor.

South Arkansas Community College in El Dorado is scheduled to receive $3,904,256.

This funding comes from the U.S. Department of Labor?s Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training Grant Program, which was authorized by the stimulus bill.

"If we want to stay competitive in today?s global economy, we need to equip our students with the needed skills, degrees and training,? Pryor said.

"Thanks to this funding, our community colleges now have the resources they need to help their students obtain high-wage, high-skill jobs in our nation?s fastest-growing industries. This is a win-win for Arkansas students and businesses.?

The Southwest Arkansas Community College Consortium, which includes seven Arkansas schools, will receive a total of $8,419,390 to help address gaps in services currently provided to businesses, create systems to ensure quick responses to business needs, and establish new regional collaborations.

Other schools scheduled to receive funding include:

? College of the Ouachitas, Malvern: $1,801,912.

? Cossatot Community College of the University of Arkansas, De Queen: $450,000.

? National Park Community College, Hot Springs: $1,003,800.

? Rich Mountain Community College, Mena: $300,000.

? Southern Arkansas University Tech, Camden: $417,800.

? University of Arkansas Community College at Hope: $541,622.

Mid-South Community College in West Memphis, which is part of the Mississippi River Transportation, Distribution and Logistics Consortium, will receive $2,000,000 to help match Arkansas workers with jobs in commerce.

"This DOL grant will enable the community colleges of southwest Arkansas to train a high quality and educated workforce for STEM positions in manufacturing industries in Arkansas,? said Dr. Barbara Jones, president, South Arkansas Community College.

"For South Arkansas Community College, this grant will provide the much needed resources to train a skilled workforce for the chemical, petroleum and pulp and paper industries in our region. We are so grateful for this opportunity,? she said.

"We were honored to have been asked to participate in the Mississippi River Consortium project. Certainly, we were excited to learn about the grant award and we look forward to working with our partners to create new economic development opportunities for the region. We sincerely appreciate the Department of Labor?s faith in our efforts and the support we received from Senator Pryor, Congressman Crawford and the rest of our state?s delegation. This project will provide a tremendous opportunity to continue our work to strategically invest in educational programs that ultimately lead to great jobs for our students,? said Glen Fenter, president, Mid-South Community College.

"College of the Ouachitas is very appreciative of this funding from the U.S. Department of Labor that will address the workforce needs in both Advanced Manufacturing and Transportation. As a result of this funding, the college will be developing two new programs, Industrial and Nano Robotics, as well as Machining and Fabrication,? said Dr. Stephen Schoonmaker, president of College of the Ouachitas.

"These programs will produce machinists, electro-mechanical technicians, among others ? all of which have been identified by the Arkansas Economic Developers as an immediate need in the state.?

Schoonmaker continued, "In addition, the grant can enable the college to build and equip a mobile truck driving simulation lab, thus producing a much-needed truck driving workforce that is also experiencing a shortage, according to the Arkansas Economic Developers. These advancements are vital to the economic development of our local communities and region.?

"When we decided to work together as a consortium, our goal was to impact economic development through education. This grant does exactly that,? said Dr. Steve Cole, chancellor, Cossatot Community College of the University of Arkansas.

" "SAHF Awards Banquet to Feature Historian Ted Jones – Monday, September 23, 2013"