02 May 2016 UACCM holds groundbreaking for workforce training center
The University of Arkansas Community College at Morrilton held a ceremonial groundbreaking event Friday for the new Workforce Training Center that will serve as a hub for technical training and workforce development in Central Arkansas. The ceremony was held in the Fine Arts Auditorium because rain precluded the event being outdoors.
The 100 attendees heard remarks from UACCM Chancellor Dr. Larry Davis, University of Arkansas System President Dr. Donald Bobbitt, UACCM Board of Visitors Chair Doug Brandon, and a keynote address from Conway County Judge Honorable Jimmy Hart.
Government and state agency officials in attendance included Morrilton Mayor Allen Lipsmeyer, Anushree Jumde from U.S. Rep. French Hill’s office, Tim Riley from Sen. John Boozman’s office, Trent Minner from Gov. Asa Hutchison’s office, Shane Fletcher from Sen. Tom Cotton’s office and Dr. Brett Powell, director of the Arkansas Department of Higher Education. Also in attendance were representatives from the Arkansas Economic Development Commission and West Central Planning and Development Board.
In his remarks, Bobbitt said, “Workforce training in this facility will support a very critical need which is important for the economic future of the region and state, as it is not only going to strengthen existing businesses and industry, but it will encourage new businesses and the growth of existing businesses.”
UACCM began vocational technical training in 1963. Today, of the 38 programs offered, 33 are of a vocational or technical nature. To support these programs, UACCM has an advisory board of more than 150 companies, with more thans 170 advisory members who advise and guide the programs to ensure students graduate with the knowledge of the newest technology and best practices needed to go directly into the workforce upon graduation.
Bobbitt also said, “UACCM has been a leader in the state at aligning their mission with the workforce needs and the faculty and staff here understand that they need to be nimble and flexible to react to a rapidly changing world. Technical degree programs and training here are designed with this goal in mind and will help close the skills gap in this state.”
MAHG Architecture is working closely with UACCM faculty, staff and administration to design this state-of-the-art facility. Nabholz Construction will see that this vision becomes a reality as it constructs the new building over the next 18 to 24 months.
The 53,000 square-foot Workforce Training Center will house Automotive Service Technology; Heating, Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Technology; Welding Technology; and Industrial Mechanics and Maintenance Technology labs. It will feature space for specialized workforce training and the UACCM Workforce Development office. Construction should be completed in 18 to 24 months and, once complete, the center will have the capacity to more than double current program enrollment.
“We have been providing modern, up-to-date technical training in 50-year-old buildings and that is sometimes a hard thing to do. Part of the long-term vision of the institution was to create new facilities to provide the workforce training that the people of Arkansas need and expect, which is something we feel we can provide,” said Davis.
Several hundred thousand dollars in equipment and cash donations have been made, and the Give Meaning campaign has received more than $2.5 million in pledges and donations.
For more information about the campaign and how to contribute, please contact UACCM Development Officer Morgan Zimmerman at 501.977.2085 or [email protected].