Region 8 college receiving statewide recognition

By Lauren Payne - bio | email feedback

POCAHONTAS, AR (KAIT) "I'll tell ya, it's just been a Godsend for us in this community," said Black River Technical College student and Career Pathways participant, Vicky Hufstedler.

"Before even Career Pathways come along, I figured I was just stuck with certain things," said Black River Technical College student and Career Pathways participant, Seth Hardage.

Seth Hardage and other  students say they don't feel stuck anymore.

"They opened up a lot of doors that I never would have thought," said Hardage.

Thanks in large part to Career Pathways and the resources it offers.

"I didn't have a clue how much help it was going to be," said Hufstedler.

You could call it a holistic approach to helping students inside the classroom and making that transition to the workforce a little easier.

"We're sort of a supplemental assistance program for students to go to school," said director of the program, Tom Baker.

...By providing a lengthy list of resources from financial help, skills training, tutoring, counseling and help finding a job, according to Career Pathways Director, Tom Baker.

"Our goal is to see every student get trained and get a job," Baker.

Baker says out of 25 career pathway programs in 2 year colleges statewide, BRTC's ranked number 3.  With 300 students in the program right now, Baker recognizes the need.

"You know it gets to be pretty touching to see these guys come in and know that they wouldn't be here without our help," said Baker.

While the program offers a boost, Baker says success has to earned.  Students have to fulfill their obligations in order to get help.

"If you get a job and you don't show up, you don't get paid.   So we're trying to maybe subtly teach a little lesson there with that," said Baker.

"I've never walked through those doors with a problem that someone didn't help find me an answer when I walked out of there," said Hufstedler.

Baker says they did receive some award money for the recognition, which he says they will put back into the program.

It can be used to do a variety of things including helping with gas money for students who have to travel for school.

It can even help buy supplies for the students.

Requirements for Career Pathways include participants must have a dependent child under the age of 21 who lives in the home on a permanent basis, and must receive some type of DHS services, and must be at or below income levels at 250% of the Federal Poverty Level.

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