UACCB receives $525,000 in Regional Workforce Grant funds
The University of Arkansas Community College at Batesville was recently awarded $525,000 in Regional Workforce Grant Phase II funds. UACCB will utilize the funding to purchase equipment to enhance current programs, as well as support the creation of a new Heavy Vehicle and Equipment Operator program.
According to the Arkansas Division of Higher Education’s website, the Workforce Initiative Act Regional Workforce Grant Program seeks to create a statewide, comprehensive structure enabling students in Arkansas universities, community colleges and secondary centers to participate in career and technical education programs developed with input from area employers. Additionally, preparing and encouraging Arkansans to pursue high-demand jobs, including but not limited to, those stemming from industry recognized credentials, career and technical certificates, associate degrees, and bachelor's degrees is essential to building a skilled and employment-ready workforce.
The Heavy Vehicle and Equipment Operator program will include a certificate of proficiency in Commercial Truck Driving (CDL), a certificate of proficiency in Heavy Equipment Operator, and a technical certificate in Heavy Vehicle and Equipment Operator. Funding will provide for a Freightliner M2 crew cab semi-tractor, which will allow space for one instructor and three students, a dry van box trailer, a flatbed trailer, a mini excavator, and a skid steer.
“While most people think of over the road (OTR) truck drivers, of which there is great demand, there is a similarly high demand for local and regional drivers,” said Brian Shonk, vice chancellor for academics. “In our region, the poultry processing industry employs many commercial truck drivers to transport grains to feed plants, feed to poultry farms, poultry to processing plants, and various waste to disposal. Our region is home to many rock quarries delivering natural materials for processing and final use. Additionally, like many other locations, our area has a large need for service drivers delivering building materials, fuels, packages, septic services, and more.”
UACCB also plans to purchase an Omnicell autonomous pharmacy management system to be utilized in the registered nursing program. UACCB has a long standing partnership with White River Health System and Unity Health-White County Medical Center. Both healthcare institutions utilize the Omnicell system designed to deliver “the right dose to the right patient at the right time” in an effort to reduce errors in medicine administration. With the purchase of the Omnicell autonomous pharmacy system, UACCB nursing students will have the benefit of training with technology used in the local and regional healthcare systems, providing them with “real-world” workforce training.
The college also plans to enhance its computer technology offerings with the creation of a modern computer lab with 12 Apple iMac computers, a DJI Matrice 300 RTK drone and one Zenmuse H20T combination 20 megapixel camera, thermal camera, and laser range finder.
“Industrial Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) use has increased dramatically and the need for operators, and more importantly, persons to utilize data collected from UAV usage, is greatly needed,” Shonk said. “UACCB currently utilizes six educational drones for instructional purposes. These drones are very limited in their application and will continue to serve a role in the program but are not sufficient to demonstrate real-world capabilities. Technology is advancing at an exponential pace, and this is especially evident in the development of drone technology. This new drone will allow our students to train on the most current flight platform available.”
For more information about programs or admissions to UACCB, contact the admissions office at 870-612-2139.