Arkansas Tech Career Center among ‘most improved sites’

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The Arkansas Tech University Career Center has been honored by the Southern Regional Education Board (SREB), which named the technical center for high school students one of its “most improved sites.”

The Career Center’s recognition comes from the board’s Technology Centers That Work (TCTW) school-improvement initiative, a network of more than 130 sites. According to the SREB website, the initiative was formed in 2007 “to help these shared-time centers review and implement the actions needed to produce high-demand, high-wage graduates who will be leaders in their selected careers.”

The Career Center, which merged with Arkansas Tech-Ozark Campus in 2011, serves students from 11 high schools in Pope, Yell and Johnson counties, offering programs in 10 career and technical areas. Students are trained for entry level positions in each instructional area while earning concurrent college credit.

Career Center Director Pat Edmunds said, “We are honored to be named one of the most improved tech centers by the Southern Regional Education Board. All the recognition goes to my faculty, who’ve worked hard to improve our student expectations and teaching standards.”

SREB is a nonprofit organization made up of members in 16 states. Headquartered in Atlanta, the board was created in 1948 by Southern governors and legislators who recognized the link between education and economic vitality.

Formerly known as Arkansas Valley Technical Center, the Career Center is located next to Russellville High School.

SREB compared an assessment of the Career Center performed this year to one done in 2010. Topics include: high expectations, programs of study, academic and career/technical studies, work-based learning, teachers working together, students actively engaged, guidance, extra help and culture of continuous improvement.

Edmunds, who will serve on a panel of experts for the 2013 National TCTW Leaders’ Forum in Greenville, S.C., said, “The students at ATCC have met the challenge as can be seen by their student assessment scores. We plan to continue our improvement efforts while offering the finest career and technical education available.”

SREB Consultant Dave Leavitt of New York, the former director of Career Technical Education, said, “This is a remarkable accomplishment, and you should be proud of your center.”

Arkansas Tech-Ozark Chancellor Jo Alice Blondin said, “ATCC has distinguished itself as a secondary center among its 130 peers.  Given their dedicated and highly skilled faculty, this recognition is much deserved.”

Chief Academic Officer Bruce Sikes said, “The faculty, administration and staff at the Career Center are committed to the students and community they serve. We feel their efforts to meet the ideas of Technology Centers That Work reflects and supports the mission of the Ozark Campus.

“We are pleased to support ATCC in their efforts to promote our partnership leading to degrees and jobs.”

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Photo: Automotive Technology instructor Bennie Byrd discusses the Arkansas Tech Career Center program during an open house last year. The Career Center has been named one of the Southern Regional Education Board’s “most improved sites.”

First published Dec. 10, 2012.

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