Affordability, Business Needs Drive Pulaski Tech Growth

by Robert Bell  on Monday, Jun. 21, 2010 12:00 am  

Economic Mission

Part of Pulaski Tech's mission statement concerns supporting the economic development of the state. The Business & Industry Center plays a big role in that task by helping ensure that new and existing employers have access to skilled labor.

"We have an advisory board made up of representatives from the business community in a variety of industries in the area, and they meet with us four times a year," said Mary Ann Shope, vice president for economic development with the BIC. "Our agenda is to talk about what the needs are in central Arkansas, and if there is anything on the radar coming up that we need to know."

The BIC offers a wide array of courses in everything from cabinetry to computer training, as well as customized learning tailored to a company's specific needs. The center works closely with the Arkansas Department of Workforce Services in helping companies with testing for potential employees and pre-employment training, Shope said.

The BIC collaborates with area chambers of commerce and economic development organizations.

"We also work really closely with the Arkansas Economic Development Commission. When they're hosting potential newcomers to central Arkansas, we're often asked to come meet with them, and they want to talk about the kinds of programs Pulaski Tech has and how can they rely on us for hiring new people," she said.

Another need the school fills is in lowering the overall cost of an education for a student seeking a bachelor's degree. The majority of Pulaski Tech students pursue associate degrees, which will transfer to a four-year school such as the University of Arkansas at Little Rock.

"Getting two years of education here and taking it to a four-year institution saves thousands and thousands of dollars," Jones said.

John Suskie is chair of the Pulaski Tech board of trustees.

"Our grandchildren now are going and have gone to Pulaski Tech," he said. "You can go out there and get those two years and save your folks some money." 



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