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BRTC industrial electricity program receives new equipment to prepare students for workforce

Updated: Sep. 30, 2020 at 10:02 PM CDT
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POCAHONTAS, Ark. (KAIT) - The Black River Technical College industrial electricity program received over $30,000 in grant money from the Arkansas Division of Higher Education’s regional workforce.

With that money, the program wanted to help further educate students.

The money was used to purchase a FANUC industrial robot.

In manufacturing, robots serve many purposes, including packaging, moving parts and products around, as well as welding, among many others.

For instructor Jack DeLoach, the robot is a huge addition to the program.

“It’s a skill that we didn’t have any training equipment here to do it with and now, we do,” DeLoach said.

Students will be able to learn how to program the robot and learn new elements to engineering and robotics that they haven’t been able to before.

“This grant allows BRTC and its partner institutions to continue its focus on addressing the training and workforce demands of northeast Arkansas' high-growth, in-demand occupations in industry sectors,” Vice President of Institutional Advancement Karen Liebhaber said. “[These sectors are] projected to have the highest growth in employment --manufacturing, health services, and leisure and hospitality -- between now and 2024.”

At BRTC, the program, which can be completed in either one or two years, is designed to get students out in those fields quickly.

“Students come in, get some electrical skills, robotics skills, PLC, motor controls and they go to work pretty quick,” DeLoach said.

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