ARK grant helps NWACC offer free courses

by The City Wire staff ( 25 views 

A federal grant awarded to NorthWest Arkansas Community College will fund courses designed to empower the unemployed by providing technology courses in fields in high demand by area industries and employers.
The spring 2014 schedule includes courses in computer service and repair, network and mobile infrastructure, and disaster recovery. All of the courses are designed to teach the students the basic skills and applications needed to pass industry standard certification.
“The ARK grant is designed to help the unemployed by giving them an education in a highly desirable field,” said ARK Grant Director Brad Henderson. “Eligible students successfully completing these free courses position themselves to earn certification in a variety of areas, like Cisco Networking and A+.”
To meet eligibility requirements for the free courses, students must be long-term unemployed (more than six months), recently unemployed, or underemployed. 

Residency in Northwest Arkansas, Southwest Missouri, and Northeast Oklahoma is another requirement.  All applications are screened and reviewed prior to admission.
“I am really hoping we get more students from Missouri and Oklahoma this semester,” said Henderson. “The grant specifically targets residents in McDonald and Adair counties (Missouri and Oklahoma respectively), as well as the entire Northwest Arkansas region, including Carroll County.”
Now in its third year, the ARK grant, funded through the United States Department of Labor, has already helped more than 275 area residents, and helps reaffirm NorthWest Arkansas Community College as the area’s leader in workforce development.
“It has been a tremendous success for the college.  Not only are the courses free, but so are the books required for each class. I think it is a very realistic goal that we will exceed 500 students heading into the summer,” said Henderson.

The college received the $1 million grant in 2011, and it is scheduled to end in October 2015. Courses are taught in the College’s Shewmaker Center for Workforce Technologies and in the institution’s Shewmaker Center for Global Business Development. 

A complete schedule and more information about the grant is available at online.