Northark and Forge Institute form collaboration to advance IT and cybersecrutiy

Northark and Forge Institute form collaboration to advance IT and cybersecurity

Thu May 5, 2022 at 01:40 PM

Alan Yarbrough, Dr. Rick Massengale and Scott A. Anderson

Searcy County School District Superintendent Alan Yarbrough, standing, North Arkansas College President Dr. Rick Massengale Sr., left, and Forge Institute Executive Director Scott Anderson sign a MOU to expand information technology and cybersecurity training in Searcy County.

North Arkansas College (Northark) students can now enjoy a seamless pathway to earn cybersecurity training at the North Central Career Center in Leslie.

Forge Institute Executive Director Scott Anderson and Northark President Dr. Rick Massengale Sr. met in Leslie May 3 to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to officially recognize a collaboration between the institutions.

Under this agreement, the two institutions will work together to develop credit opportunities for Forge Institute Academy graduates at North Arkansas College. Northark will provide the foundational cybersecurity training to high school students in the Searcy County and Clinton school districts, preparing them for Forge Institute or other higher education coursework.

"This is a first for Northark to work with Forge Institute, and I am excited that it will give rural students an opportunity to prepare for a career that will allow them to work literally anywhere, including rural Arkansas," said Massengale. "Northark is committed to working with Forge Institute to both prepare students to be successful in their programs while also working to give them academic credit for successfully completing Forge Institute's Academy programs. This will allow them to further advance their training and pursue an Associate's Degree from North Arkansas College and, if desired, a four-year bachelor's degree."

Anderson said he is excited to work with Northark to extend academic credit opportunities for graduates of IT/Cyber Fundamentals courses.

"Collaborations such as these make it easy for Arkansans to pursue formal and professional education, better preparing them for careers in information technology and cybersecurity," he said. 

Searcy County School District Alan Yarbrough said the partnership will have a huge impact on the community.

"This collaboration brings robust IT and cybersecurity training to our community which will inspire and encourage our students to pursue professional training and advanced education," he said. "Further, it will promote high-paying jobs with remote-work opportunity, which can have a significant, long-term positive economic affect for our communities."

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