Northark receives nearly $1 million grant

Fri Jul 15, 2016 at 09:17 AM

A grant totaling almost $1M from the Arkansas Department of Higher Education will help North Arkansas College (Northark) boost the manufacturing and healthcare workforce by reducing the regional skills employment gap.  The Regional Workforce Implementation Grant is in the amount of $988,570.

The money will allow Northark to complete an Advanced Manufacturing & Emerging Clinical Healthcare Workforce Initiative.  This initiative reduces the employment skills gap and includes strategies to prepare for projected future employment needs in the manufacturing and healthcare industries of the Northwest Arkansas Region.

Funds will be awarded in four installments over two years: August 1, 2016, January 1, 2017, August 1, 2017 and January 1, 2018.

Specifically designed strategies will increase credentials awarded, increase high school students’ completion of credentials, and increase workforce training in the identified fields (healthcare and manufacturing).  Collaboration with grant partners will support transferability of courses, workforce training classes, professional development for regional school districts and college personnel, increased opportunities for concurrent credit at the Northark Technical Center and the PACE Manufacturing Technology Scholarship Program. 

Nell Bonds, Northark’s dean of outreach and workforce development said monies will fund the purchase of new manufacturing and medical equipment to expand the Manufacturing Technology and Industrial Electronics Technician programs.  New programs include the Workforce Technology Certificate of Proficiency, Medical Assistant Technical Certificate, Clinical Medical Assistant Certificate of Proficiency and Administrative Medical Assistant Certificate of Proficiency.  The programs will be presented to the Ark. Dept. of Higher Education in August for approval and will be offered in the Spring 2017 semester.

Northark was selected to receive this award due to the College’s innovative partnerships and collaborative work with regional industry representatives, educational partners (both secondary and post-secondary), the OUR Educational Service Cooperative, the Northwest Arkansas Workforce Development Board and the support of the local community.

“The support demonstrated by partners in our region toward these efforts has been phenomenal,” Bonds says.  “This project has contributed to an alignment of key strategies that address regional workforce development needs in healthcare and advanced manufacturing.  We are extremely excited to continue this important work with the resources provided by the Implementation Grant.”

Local industries who partnered in the grant are PACE Industries, Wabash Wood Products, Claridge Products, WestRock, North Arkansas Regional Medical Center, Tyson Foods, Ducommun and Baxter Healthcare.  Educational Partners are ASU Mountain Home, OUR Educational Service Cooperative, Northark Technical Center and the North Arkansas Partnership for Health Education.  The Northwest Arkansas Workforce Development was also a partner.

North Arkansas College is committed to providing an educational and work environment for its students, faculty, and staff that is free from sexual discrimination including sexual harassment, sexual assault, and sexual violence. No form of sexual discrimination will be tolerated. See the full North Arkansas College Title IX Policy and Procedures for the specific definitions of sexual harassment and sexual violence, including examples of such conduct.