PACE to receive first partnership award

Thu Apr 20, 2017 at 02:49 PM

Pace IndustriesThere are some duos that just go together. Like Batman and Robin, movies and popcorn and peanut butter and jelly. Their value is that they are greater together than the sum of their parts.

Such is the case of North Arkansas College and PACE Industries who share many commonalities. Both were founded in the early 70’s.  PACE in 1970, and North Arkansas Community College (NACC) in 1974. The two institutions have “grown-up” together in Harrison.  To recognize the long-term partnership, Northark Trustees voted to present PACE with the first Northark Board of Trustees Partnership Award. They will present the award during commencement ceremonies on May 6th, 2017, at 10:00 a.m. in Pioneer Pavilion.

Today, Northark has expanded to three campuses in Harrison and a Carroll County Center to serve students.  PACE has become one of the largest and most diversified die casting companies in the world.

“PACE has been such a good friend to this College over the years. The Board felt the time has come to recognize their contributions by creating an award to recognize the vital importance of our business and industry partners,” Chair of the award committee, Northark Board member and chair of the Commencement Nominating Committee David Evans, commented.

Just as two childhood friends might do, each has extended a helping hand over the years. When PACE needed more skilled workers, Northark responded with customized workforce training and specialized class offerings.  These classes required high-tech equipment that was very expensive. PACE stepped up to donate a die cast machine. The die cast machine is valued at $150K and PACE helped deliver and install the equipment. PACE is helping design and build a new die cast training cell area on the North campus. Access to this equipment along with regular opportunities for students to visit the PACE facility has provided students and future PACE employees with a better understanding of the manufacturing field and the great potential for future employment.

Last year, PACE teamed up with the Northark Foundation to establish a scholarship program for students to attend college tuition-free.  Students must be entering the fields of manufacturing technology or industrial electronics.  PACE donates $20K annually to attract and train workers to enter these fields with the goal of adding and retaining jobs in Harrison.

Located a stone’s throw down the hill from the North campus, PACE and the College are next-door neighbors.  Perched atop a hill above PACE, the automotive area naturally is filled with automobiles waiting for repair or a fresh coat of paint. Recently, Northark’s new President, Randy Esters saw an opportunity to cover what some might see as an eyesore with a fence that includes logos of business partners. Basically, the fence would serve as a huge billboard. PACE was the first to say “yes” we’d love to help with that project!

Nell Bonds, dean of community outreach and workforce development says, “PACE Industries has been instrumental in Northark’s ability to provide educational opportunities for students to develop the skills required for successful entry into the workforce and into prosperous future manufacturing careers. This strategic partnership has helped Northark secure grant funding from the Regional Workforce Grant program to provide funds to modernize and improve the Manufacturing and Industrial Electronics Technician programs.” 

From humble beginnings, PACE and Northark have grown alongside each other for many years. Perhaps Hellen Keller’s quote about teamwork sum ups the intent of the Board of Trustees “Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.”

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.