FORT SMITH — The University of Arkansas-Fort Smith announced it received $1 million to bolster its transportation and advanced manufacturing programs.
The transportation programs received a $300,000 Regional Workforce Grant from the Arkansas Division of Higher Education while the advanced manufacturing programs received $700,000, according to a university news release Friday.
Shadow Robinson, who was appointed the university’s provost and vice chancellor of academic affairs effective July 1, said in the release the grants will be important to workforce preparation.
“The ongoing commitment to workforce readiness of our students and economic development of our region is what distinguishes UAFS as a university,” Robinson said. “This grant helps ensure that our graduates are work-ready on day one, stepping from our campus directly into high-paying careers in the electronics and automotive industries.”
Amanda Seidenzahl, director of the Western Arkansas Technical Center on the university’s campus, said in the release the grants will support equipment and infrastructure at the university’s Baldor Technology Center. They will also provide an opportunity to expand the programs.
“The state-of-the-art equipment and facilities in each area ensure students are learning in a simulated industry environment,” Seidenzahl said. “The programs provide both credit and noncredit instruction that prepares students to enter the workforce and support the industry needs of this region.”
Latisha Settlage, dean of the university’s College of Business and Industry, in the release said the money supports learning laboratories enabling students to develop and practice skills on the same technologies found in the workplace.
The money for advanced manufacturing will support credit and noncredit classes for both university and concurrent high school students, as well as adults in industry training, according to the release. The money for transportation will support automotive technology with new equipment and lab upgrades to benefit university and concurrent high school students.