BY MELANIE WADE –
A partnership is in the making between the University of Arkansas Rich Mountain (UARM) and the Arkansas Department of Workforce Services (ADWS), one that hopes to benefit clients of both entities. UARM President Dr. Phillip Wilson explained the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act is a United States public law that consolidates job training programs under the Workforce Investment Act of 1998 (WIA) into a single funding stream. The program encourages government entities to find ways to collaborate for the betterment of the entire system.
“Workforce Services was looking for partners, as was our Adult Basic Education and our Career Pathways. All three fall under some of the legislation so it just makes sense that all three of these components come together and work in the same proximity. A lot of their clients are going to need retraining, or their GED, as well as our Career Pathway students looking for job employment. There is a lot of synergy between the three.”
For the partnership to have the most optimum results, the local Workforce Services Office will move into the Abernathy Building on UARM’s campus. Workforces Services will continue to offer all of their benefits to all citizens there.
To house ADWS, the Abernathy Building will be completely remodeled. “The entire building will receive a facelift,” Wilson said. The newly renovated building will house ADWS, UARM’s TRIO program, including Upward Bound, Educational Talent Search, the GED program, and Career Pathways. The Double-Nickel Program (formerly known as the 60-plus program) will move into the Maddox Building.
“We’re excited for the partnership, remodel, and the dollars gained from the rental,” Wilson explained. “The rent will pay for the construction and it will allow us to remodel our two science labs and bring them up to date.”
The projected cost for the remodel of Abernathy, as well as the science lab updates, is expected to cost approximately $800,000. “I believe it’s a great partnership to have,” Wilson concluded.