BRTC awarded grant to build workforce

From Region 8 News at Six
Published: Oct. 20, 2023 at 9:36 AM CDT
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POCAHONTAS, Ark. (KAIT/Edited News Release) - Black River Technical College (BRTC) was recently awarded roughly $1.8 million through the Department of Education (DOE) under the Strengthening Institutions Grant Program.

The grant spans five years and will fund a project entitled “Building the Workforce: Implementing a Career Services Program and Durable Skills Curriculum.”

Through this project, BRTC will establish a comprehensive Career Services Program, which will include hiring a full-time Director of Student Workforce Readiness. The director will oversee the implementation of several career programs and services, as well as the establishment of an internship program.

BRTC will also establish a Durable Skills Advisory Committee composed of local, regional, and state workforce experts. This committee will assist in the identification of durable skills (soft skills or employability skills) that are most needed in Arkansas’ workforce. BRTC’s faculty and staff will then focus on developing durable skills curricula that will be integrated into BRTC’s courses and programs.

An instructional designer will be hired to assist with the curriculum development process to ensure the durable skills curriculum is high quality and available in multiple modalities (face-to-face, online, hybrid, etc.).

Finally, the grant project includes the establishment of a formal re-engagement campaign. Through this campaign, BRTC will use a variety of methods to contact students who have dropped out of college prior to completing a certificate or degree. Coupled with this project’s Career Services Program and BRTC’s existing Career Pathways Program, non-completing students will have access to an improved support system to assist them through re-enrollment and credential attainment.

Vice President of Student Affairs Jason Smith explained additions like these help guarantee the college is producing the best possible graduates.

“We are trying to produce the best students we possibly can to fulfill their needs,” Smith added.

The college said it sees this addition as a sure sign of growth on campus.

“BRTC has been on a meteoric rise. We’ve been really enjoying a lot of success lately. Enrollment is up, and we’re adding a lot of great programs.”

For more information about BRTC, visit