NWA workforce training nonprofit expanding capacity

by Jeff Della Rosa ([email protected]) 440 views 

Business and Industry Training (BIT), a workforce training nonprofit with locations in Springdale and Gentry, will use a $50,000 grant from Arconic Foundation to purchase additional equipment to expand its capacity to train people.

BIT Director Julie McAllaster said the new training equipment, which is expected to arrive in September, will allow the nonprofit to train an additional 60 to 145 people annually.

Arconic Foundation, which is independently endowed with assets of nearly $180 million, invests in the communities of Arconic Corp. Arconic subsidiary Kawneer has a Springdale plant and manufactures architectural systems for building facades.

“Investing in the training program at Business and Industry Training elevates the already valuable education experience that they offer and prepares individuals for manufacturing careers in our community,” said Regan Rogers, plant manager for the Kawneer facility in Springdale. “The Business and Industry Training has provided critical training to our current employees and has been a valuable partner for years.”

BIT provides short-term, hands-on training that students can complete at their own pace, McAllaster said.

“Our organization is here for industry companies, individuals that may not have any industry experience and want to learn a new trade, or for individuals that have experience but want to further their learning,” McAllaster said.

BIT’s training is in electrical systems, motor controls, mechanical drives, robotics, pneumatics and hydraulics. It also offers skills assessments, safety and forklift training, and computer and soft skills classes.

“There is a great need for skilled labor in industry in our communities, and the support we receive from our member companies is vital to the growth of the program,” said Jonathan King, board president for Business and Industry Training.

The nonprofit has provided training for more than 24 years, and clients include more than 30 companies and organizations, such as Bekaert, The Clorox Co., Kawneer, Rockline Industries and Tyson Foods. BIT has five employees.