ATU-Ozark, Van Buren schools partner on automation tech classes

by Tina Alvey Dale ([email protected]) 46 views 

Arkansas Tech University-Ozark and the Van Buren Public School District have partnered to give Van Buren High School students the opportunity to study automation technology and gain college credits.

VBHS students in the program, which will begin in the fall, will complete 15 credit hours in fundamentals of electricity, introduction to industrial automation, introduction to industrial robots and programmable controllers.

“These courses are crafted to impart a foundational understanding of automation principles and practices, preparing students to excel in this high-demand career field,” said Dr. Sheila Jacobs, ATU-Ozark chancellor. “At ATU-Ozark, we are dedicated to fostering innovation and excellence in education. This partnership with the Van Buren School District exemplifies our commitment to partnering with K-12 schools and promoting workforce development in our region and state.”

The classes, which will be taught on the VBHS campus by instructor Dr. Joe McClean from VBPS, will be available to students in 10th through 12th grade, said Myron Heckman, VBPS secondary director of learning services.

“Typically, we will have 10-12 students, but we ultimately would love to see at least 15 students in these classes,” Heckman said.

McClean will work with Stacey McCollough, ATU-Ozark automation technology program chair and instructor, Cody Harkness, ATU-Ozark automation technology instructor, and Kenneth Beeler, ATU-Ozark air conditioning and refrigeration program chair and instructor.

Upon successful completion of the 15 credit hours, the students will receive a certificate of proficiency in controls fundamentals. The credit hours can also be stacked toward an associate degree from ATU-Ozark.

“The Van Buren School District is proud to partner with ATU-Ozark to provide our students with this unique educational opportunity,” said VBSD Superintendent Dr. Harold Jeffcoat. “Receiving college credit along with industry level certification in such a high-growth career field allows our students to be better prepared to transition to their respective colleges or careers following graduation. We would like to thank ATU-Ozark for joining our district in this effort and we look forward to additional creative partnerships in the future.”