Let’s roll, you know the drill, dig in, these are three, often used slogans meant to encourage and motivate people. They are also terms to describe the activities associated with the newest workforce training programs at the University of Arkansas Community College at Morrilton.
As UACCM celebrates its 60-year anniversary, the college finds itself deeply rooted in the same hands-on workforce training focus that helped establish its solid reputation as a driving force of economic development. When the institution opened its doors as Petit Jean Vocational-Technical School in 1963, many Americans among the baby boomer generation entered the workforce immediately after high school graduation and often stayed with the same company until retirement. The younger boomers began to highly value a bachelor’s degree, a trend that continued until the nation began to experience a labor market skills gap.
As the tide has turned, more emphasis has again been placed on skills training. UACCM has adapted to increase opportunity and access to skills training. In the short-term, non-credit workforce training programs, students have the opportunity to enroll year-round rather than waiting for an academic semester to begin. These non-credit programs award credentials rather than degrees and can focus more on internships and apprenticeships.
The latest example of non-credit training opportunities available is the Underground Directional Drilling program which prepares students to operate the equipment that utility companies use to install pipe, conduit, or cables without the need to dig trenches. UACCM is one of three community colleges that comprise the Arkansas Fiber Academy, a unique project funded by an Office of Skills Development grant. The grant covers the cost of training for eligible participants to complete a one-week core industry competency program before enrolling in a three-week, 120-hour underground directional drilling class. This program prepares completers for high-demand, high-wage careers as fiber technicians who use horizontal drilling techniques to install new utilities infrastructure that lead to expanded broadband access in rural areas of the state.
Two other programs experiencing tremendous growth in UACCM’s Workforce Education and Training program are the Commercial Driving Training and Heavy Equipment Operator. The shortage of qualified workers in these fields has resulted in an influx of applicants, with many employers covering the cost of tuition in order to build their workforce. The CDL program offers non-credit training in Class A CDL, Class B CDL, school bus, passenger, and hazardous materials endorsements. The Heavy Equipment Operator program is offered at three levels with hands-on training on various equipment appropriate for that level.
The UACCM Workforce Education and Training program also offers the flexibility to custom design short-term training courses specific to the needs of individual employers. These courses may be taught at the business site or on the UACCM campus.
If students are seeking a career-specific certificate or degree, there is no better place than UACCM to gain hands-on, relevant skills that match what employers need. The college’s career programs are well-respected by business and industry who seek out UACCM graduates with job offers often coming before graduation.
UACCM offers a comprehensive curriculum of university-transfer and career-specific training programs as well as adult education programs. For more information, go to www.uaccm.edu or call 1-800-264-1094.