UACCB using $500K grant to rev up new trucking program

University of Arkansas Community College at Batesville (Source: KAIT-TV)
University of Arkansas Community College at Batesville (Source: KAIT-TV)((Source: KAIT-TV))
Updated: Jun. 8, 2021 at 1:38 PM CDT
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BATESVILLE, Ark. (KAIT) - A Batesville college hopes a half-million-dollar grant will shift a future trucking program into overdrive.

The University of Arkansas Community College at Batesville announced Tuesday it had received $525,000 in Regional Workforce Grant Phase II funds.

College officials plan to use the money to purchase equipment for existing programs and create a new “Heavy Vehicle and Equipment Operator” program.

“Funding will provide for a Freightliner M2 crew cab semi-tractor, which will allow space for one instructor and three students,” according to the statement.

The college also plans to purchase a dry van box trailer, flatbed trailer, mini-excavator, and a skid steer.

While there is a great demand for over the road (OTR) truck drivers, Vice Chancellor for Academics Brian Shonk says there is a similarly high demand for local and regional truckers.

“In our region, the poultry processing industry employs many commercial truck drivers to transport grains to feed plants, feed to poultry farms, poultry to processing plants, and various waste to disposal,” Shonk said. “Our region is home to many rock quarries delivering natural materials for processing and final use. Additionally, like many other locations, our area has a large need for service drivers delivering building materials, fuels, packages, septic services, and more.”

The new program will offer commercial truck driving (CDL) and heavy equipment operator certificates of proficiency, as well as a heavy vehicle and equipment operator technical certificate.

According to the news release, UACCB also plans to purchase an Omnicell autonomous pharmacy management system for its registered nursing program.

The college also plans to create a modern computer lab with the purchase of 12 Apple iMac computers, along with a DJI Matrice 300 RTK drone and one Zenmuse H20T combination 20-megapixel camera, thermal camera, and laser range finder.

“Industrial Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) use has increased dramatically and the need for operators, and more importantly, persons to utilize data collected from UAV usage, is greatly needed,” Shonk said. “This new drone will allow our students to train on the most current flight platform available.”

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