PARAGOULD (KAIT) In today's job market you have to be on top of your game to get ahead.
A college degree is great; but the need for skilled technicians is still out there.
The Black River Technical College in Paragould is providing the best of both worlds.
Holly Franklin is in her second academic year. She likes the smaller campus for several reasons."Black River is just closer to home you can stay with your family and the teachers here are just awesome and they try to do anything for you it's just a really good experience here."
The campus is not large. But it serves a valuable dual role.
Dana Bradford, Training Specialist, "One of them is an academic setting for students wanting to attend college, and also the Greene County Industrial Training center is here and it was established to help our local industries meet their training needs."
With nearly 500 academic students and over 2500 technical outreach students the one building is overcrowded.
Bradford, "We're trying to offer more courses were trying to serve more individuals and with the combination of the workforce training plus the academic classes we definitely needed more space."
The answer is to build another building scheduled to open this fall. All the academic classes will be moved in there.
On the technical side excitement is building for the new Automation Technology Program.
Bradford, "We're just getting ready to kick that program off starting in March. We've had a fantastic response to it. The class filled up immediately."
For some students the small class size gives them a leg up. Laurie Corbin was afraid she couldn't get up to speed at a regular college.
"I felt behind I didn't feel right on top at ASU . I felt like I would get behind at ASU."
Holly Franklin, "Yeah, you get a lot more one on one attention with a smaller classroom the teachers can be there more for you."
With industry in Paragould in flux the industrial training center has to stay ready for changes.
Bradford, "Because their needs need to be met and we are the exact facility to find those training needs that can be met so we do definitely try and stay in touch with them."
Be it textbook or hands on, this little campus is working hard to serve the big world.
Bradford, "There's always that other side of things. The other side that needs training so you can't discount those at all."
Another new building will soon house a 24-hour daycare.