Southern Arkansas University Tech announced a $1,495,154 grant award from the United States Department of Labor and the Delta Regional Authority through the Workforce Opportunities for Rural Communities Initiative.
The new award is the second WORC grant SAU Tech has received in the last few years. The college was previously awarded a grant to expand the health care training opportunities for the Delta counties in SAU Tech's service area. The project includes developing partnerships, new health care programs and serving health care students with added supports.
The WORC grant awarded on Sept. 28 provides funds to create an Aerospace Defense Manufacturing Center of Excellence that will provide the following activities:
• Deliver training to 600 participants (entrants into the workforce, dislocated workers, and incumbent workers) in the DRA counties of Bradley, Calhoun, Cleveland, Dallas, Ouachia and Union in south Arkansas.
• Develop and grow new and current partnerships with Highland Park Industries-Aerojet Rocketdyne, Lockheed Martin, Armtec Defense Technologies, General Dynamics, Raytheon, Spectra Technologies and Arkansas Workforce Services, the Arkansas Office of Skills Development, The Ouachita Partnership for Economic Development, SAU Tech Adult Education and SAU Tech Career Academy Program.
• Update and renovation of dedicated training space on SAU Tech's main campus inside the Highland Industrial Park, creating a unique Center for customized training, pre-employment training, and industry-delivered training for years to come.
The grant project is located under the College's Division of Workforce Training under the supervision of Director Randy Harper and Assistant Director, Karmen House. The project will start Oct. 1 with notification of all partner industries involved in the delivery of the project.
SAU Tech officials hope the success with this project will change the landscape of the economy in the area by utilizing partnerships with WIOA programs and Adult Education to provide a support system for new and dislocated workers who participate in the project, according to a press release. The DOL/DRA WORC grant initiative aims to grow and prosper Delta communities so the people who live there can work and thrive right where they live.