JONESBORO, AR (KAIT)-"Everyone involved should be commended for the way they have come together to impact their community, county and region in a positive way."
This was the comment made by Chairman Christopher Masingill of the Delta Regional Authority on Wednesday to Trumann city officials and residents.
The community gathered together to celebrate the official acknowledgment by the Delta Regional Authority to proceed on the Sims/Talbot Adult Education Workforce Development Center project.
Mayor Sheila Walters says they've been working to make this a reality for about four years.
"We had a generous benefactor who used to live in Trumann donate $250,000 to start us off," Walters said. "Then the Patterson family donated land for us to put the building on. Having the base money we have has helped us tremendously in gathering other funds. So, we're here today with the Delta Regional Authority and we are so excited that they've come. That they are willing to help us and this is such an opportunity for our city to have education."
The Delta Regional Authority added $200,000 to the project.
Director of Economic Development, Barbara Lewallen, says there is an adult education program already at work in the city, but the building it's currently in has limited them.
"Right now, they do GED training and basic skills, but we want to expand this into more workforce development and whatever we can do to bring opportunity here to our citizens," Lewallen said. "The building was built in probably 1927 or '28 so, while it's serviceable, it's probably not the best set up. After doing some interviewing and researching we decided we would really like to come up with a better building with possibilities for expansion."
The new 5,000 square foot facility will be state of the art, featuring learning spaces that can also be used for business training.
Workforce training and adult education will be taking place through a partnership with Arkansas State University in Newport.
Mayor Walters says they're thrilled with what they'll now be able to offer with the new facility.
"We've had the program here," Walters said. "But this will make it more versatile. It will incorporate workforce readiness and employers in our area will have a place to come together to actually have safety programs or educational programs for their employees. We want everyone to be successful in their lives and this will give them the extra opportunity."
They hope new center will be a valuable tool in supporting existing businesses and attracting new business into the community.
Mayor Walters says their next step is to find an architect to draw the facility they have in mind.
It will be located on Melton Avenue near the Trumann Police Department.