New Education and New Jobs Start in the Delta

MARCH 24, 2006 -- POSTED AT 8:00 P.M.

JONESBORO, AR -- Friday marked the official opening of the Workforce Technology Center at Mid-South Community College in West Memphis , something that will educate the delta and in return create new jobs for thousands.

This day marked the celebration of something much bigger than a normal ribbon cutting. It was the celebration of cutting edge technology right here in Northeast Arkansas . Hundreds gathered for the dedication, including many familiar faces.

"This is a huge moment in the history of the delta because the emphasis here is education. The delta really has a great location and a great infrastructure, but it needs a world class education and this is a very important part of that," says U.S. Senator Mark Pryor.

Four colleges came together to make it happen. Arkansas Northwestern, East Arkansas Community College, Phillips Community College of the University of Arkansas, and Mid-South Community College, where the Workforce Technology Center is located.

But to make this happen, someone had to foot the bill. Some funding came through donors and legislation, but nearly 80 percent came from local taxes in Crittenden County .

"This community has had the infinite wisdom to look beyond and into the future to know that if we're going to succeed, it's going to be because we have an educated workforce. And that's why we taxed ourselves," says Steve Jones, Crittenden County Resident.

"Many communties will lay dormant and wait for someone to come to their aid and i think crittenden county reached a point where they said we're going to create our own future and this is how we're going to do it," says Dr. Glen Fenter, Mid-South Community College President.

We've all heard the phrase ‘Education is the Key,’ but that phrase couldn't be more literal today as Crittenden County residents realize that their education and their jobs are right here at home.

Furthermore, the Workforce Technology Center will serve as a training facility for emerging automotive, manufacturing, and warehousing industries, as well as existing plants, such as the new Hino Motors Plant in Marion.