$180,000 Workforce Development Grant Awarded to Arkansas Northeastern College

Rural Development Partners (Forest City, IA) MRT/WATCO awarded a $180,000 workforce development grant to Arkansas Northeastern College (Blytheville, AR) to support industrial education in the region while setting the stage for economic growth and development.

Community Investment Program

Rural Development Partner’s (RDP), through their Community Investment Program, worked with Arkansas Northeastern College (ANC), identifying the need for heavy equipment operators to meet labor pool demand for local industry. The grant was strategically leveraged to maximize benefit through an instructor certification program, creatively strengthening educational opportunities through ANC Technical Center high school and its workforce development arm, ANC Solutions Group. The grant will also be used to purchase a rough terrain forklift, further enhancing on-campus training scheduled to begin in 2022.

Authorized Instructor Program

The Core 4® Authorized Instructor Program is a 40-hour course certifying instructors to train heavy equipment operators on a variety of heavy lift-equipment. Participants will receive comprehensive instruction on how to successfully present theory, coach, evaluate, and test operators. The Operator Training course, or equivalent, is a prerequisite for the Instructor Program.

Operator Training

Operators will become certified on rough terrain forklifts, counterbalance forklifts, scissor-lifts, and aerial-boom lifts. A written test and practical evaluation using industry standard concepts common to most types of equipment, including the basics, rules and regulations, main parts and their functions, safety systems, hazards and controls. This is a 24-30-hour course (determined by skill level), and has a 3-year renewal requirement.

Solutions Group Implementation

As the workforce training arm of the college, the Solutions Group will be able to utilize these Certified Heavy Equipment Instructors to provide operator training for many local businesses. The instructors will also teach ANC students seeking a degree, expanding the reach of the certifications into programs such as Steel Industry Technology, Advanced Manufacturing, General Industrial Technology, HVAC, Construction Technology, and Welding. Furthermore, ANC’s Internship Services Division provides job placement assistance to high school seniors participating in the program.

Rural Development Partners

“Rural communities understand that a highly trained workforce attracts business investments and improved opportunities for their citizens. The Community Investment Program provides a financial catalyst that helps unleash the creative potential of the great individuals and organizations within the community who are working to build the local workforce.”  – Jonathan Klaassen, CEO of Rural Development Partners.

Rural Development Partners is a certified Community Development Entity that has won ten New Markets Tax Credit (NMTC) awards from the U.S. Treasury totaling $656.7 million. RDP utilizes the NMTC Program to help organizations throughout the nation build and expand their operations in distressed rural communities. RDP investments help create jobs, economic growth, training opportunities, and food security for Rural America by partnering with organizations that take action to invest in and support their local communities.