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by U of O on Friday, Oct. 03, 2016 9:24 am
Article 2: University of Arkansas Fort Smith, Industry Partners to Provide In-Demand Career Training
Two workforce development grants totaling more than $110,000 from the Governor’s Workforce Cabinet to the University of Arkansas – Fort Smith will create career paths at the university for in-demand jobs both locally and across the state.
The planning grants will fund an Automation Academy and a Data Analytics Academy, with the potential for an additional $2 million in funding per grant. The two industry-driven programs were developed in partnership with local employers and educators to address current and emerging skills gaps in the region’s workforce.
A skills gap refers to a career field with a disparity between preferred qualifications of employers and the actual qualifications of employees seeking jobs in the field
“Skill gaps in the workforce can be threatening to an area’s economic well-being,” said Dr. Paul B. Beran, UAFS chancellor. “As one of the main drivers of economic development in the greater Fort Smith region, UAFS has prioritized partnering with local institutions to ensure we are filling the skills gaps of the area and creating more opportunity for the residents in our service area.”
Both academies offer students seamless yet flexible paths to earn degrees or certifications, with opportunities to earn a certificate of proficiency, technical certificate, associate degree or bachelor’s degree. High school students can also enter the programs and earn concurrent credit to provide an easy transition to college following graduation.
UAFS will offer these programs in collaboration with local businesses and organizations including Walmart, Baldor Electric Co., Pernod Ricard USA, the 188th Wing of the Arkansas Air National Guard, Hickory Springs Manufacturing Co., and the Western Arkansas Workforce Development Board, in addition to several area public schools. Industry partners will assist the university in student recruitment and engagement, business partner recruitment and curriculum design.
Col. Bobbi Doorenbos, commander of the 188th Wing of the Arkansas Air National Guard, said she looks forward to working with UAFS. “The 188th has always had deep roots in the western Arkansas community, and we are looking forward to collaborating with UAFS as the university responds to the workforce needs of the 188th,” Doorenbos said. “Residents, and 188th members alike, will certainly benefit from this partnership.”
The Automation Academy will prepare students for manufacturing careers in automation and robotics. To help introduce students to manufacturing career fields, UAFS will host two-week summer camps for students entering their senior year of high school. Through these camps, students will take industry tours, talk to workers in the students’ areas of interest, and learn about career opportunities in the manufacturing field.
Additionally, UAFS will coordinate mentorships between students and successful manufacturing professionals to help students apply their studies to a career and build connections in the community. The Data Analytics Academy will educate students for careers in data analytics, the science of reviewing data to influence decision-making within an organization, oftentimes referred to as Big Data. Students trained in data analytics can enter a range of fields, including information technologies, manufacturing and retail.
With both programs, the university will collaborate with area schools including Charleston, Fort Smith, Greenwood, and Van Buren Public Schools to identify, recruit and help educate students. The university will also collaborate with the Western Arkansas Education Service Cooperative. Both programs will be open to traditional and non-traditional students, according to Dr. Ken Warden, dean of the College of Applied Science and Technology. “This is an all-inclusive program in which students from all walks of life can participate,” Warden said. “We are excited to partner with local industry and educational institutions to create a pipeline for individuals to move seamlessly from education to rewarding careers in challenging, high-demand fields. We anticipate this process will make a huge impact on the development of talent in our workforce locally and across the state.”
Date Posted: Wednesday, October 7, 2015
Clarksville Light & Water, the municipally owned utility, in Clarksville, Arkansas has just completed a $10 million dollar expansion to its water treatment plant.
CLW’s water system was already a leader in the state of Arkansas by being one of the first municipal water systems to use Ozone as its primary disinfection method for treatment, but with this expansion it has increased its Ozone injection process using a state of the art HyDOZ® system by Blue-In-Green based in Fayetteville, Arkansas http://www.prweb.com/releases/2015/09/prweb12959954.htm.
Overall the expansion will increase the output capacity from 12 million gallons a day (MGD) to 16 MGD. As a part of the design/build planning process many of the key components in this expansion project have been sized for the eventual capacity of 24 MGD. This will allow Clarksville Light & Water to make improvements as demand and local economic growth warrants with minimal additional investments.
CL&W is a municipally owned utility providing electric, water and wastewater to the Clarksville, Arkansas community at not for profit rates since 1913. The utility is managed under a separate and autonomous utility commission appointed by the Clarksville city council.
Date posted: October 2, 2015
Submitted by The Johnson County Graphic on Wed, Nov. 23, 2016
Clarksville Mayor Mark Simpson has announced plans for a workshop for the new comprehensive plan for the Clarksville community. The workshop will be held at 6 p.m. Thursday Dec. 1, in Hanna and Bruning Rooms in the Rogers Conference Center in Seay Student Center at the University of the Ozarks.
According to James Walden, planner for the project, the workshop will focus on identifying the issues the community is facing, particularly the critical issues that will play a significant role in shaping Clarksville's future. "This workshop will be about the planning team listening rather than talking. We want to hear from folks in the community about their ideas and dreams for the future of Clarksville," Walden said. "To plan a bright future, we need to know where Clarksville currently stands and there is no better expert than the people that live and work here."
Walden said, "The meeting will be set up to allow us to hear from everyone in the room." He added, "It's always interesting and fun for everyone to hear the ideas that come forward." The planning team will take down the ideas and visions developed and formulate a consensus vision based on the input received. That information will form a foundation for the plan.
The mayor, city council, staff, planning commission and community leaders began working on the plan in response to a need to pot a course for the city's future. Slowing growth, economic shifts and concern over recent developments have highlighted the need and interest in developing new strategies for the community's development.
This meeting is one in a series of meetings in which the community will have an opportunity to provide input on the plan. "For this plan to be successful, we need community buy-in. As a result, we are working to engage the community in a big way as part of the project," Walden said. Other meetings have included a kick-off meeting, key person interviews, stakeholder group meetings, etc.
The final plan will propose ideas to strategically guide the city over the next 15 to 25 years and be finished in the summer of 2017. Planning will affect all residents in the area as well as the business community. For this reason, local officials stress the importance of involving as many area people in the process as possible.