Partnership Yields Electrician Apprenticeship Program

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Arkansas Tech University-Ozark Campus and Arkansas Tech Career Center (ATCC) in Russellville are partnering with the Arkansas Construction Education Foundation (ACEF) and Tyson Foods to offer an industrial electrician apprenticeship program to area industries.

“The program will be of benefit to those already working in a plant environment who possess some electrical and maintenance knowledge already, but want to advance their career and earn their journeyperson’s electrical license,” said Justin Smith, chief business and community outreach officer at ATU-Ozark. “This opportunity leverages the knowledge of a private apprenticeship training provider in ACEF as well as the input and need from a global company like Tyson Foods. Not only does the program help advance Tyson’s maintenance workers career progression, but it also benefits the needs of other area industries in the Arkansas River Valley.

“We are also excited that the program is specific to electrical work in an industrial plant environment, as we know these skills are vital to keeping our plants up and running with reduced down time,” continued Smith. “Tyson Foods and ACEF worked diligently to get a curriculum approved and have already implemented the program in other locations, and we are proud to partner with them in the Russellville area.”

The program will meet each Tuesday evening beginning Jan. 11. This is a four-year apprenticeship consisting of 576 classroom hours and 8,000 hours work experience. At the end, students can sit for their state journeyperson’s electrical exam.

Apprentices will gain knowledge in motors, transformers, controls, instruments, safety, programmable logic controllers (PLCs), networks, control loops, conductors, lighting systems, power distribution and more. They will also form an understanding of testing and calibration equipment and gain skills working from drawings and diagrams.

“The Arkansas Construction Education Foundation is excited to partner with ATU-Ozark to offer an industrial electrician apprenticeship program,” said Kathy Fulks, ACEF executive director. “We believe this partnership will provide a unique opportunity for electricians in the Russellville area who work specifically in the industrial field.”

A general information meeting to provide interested individuals with more information is planned for Tuesday, Jan. 4, at 5:30 p.m. at ATCC, which is located behind Russellville High School at 2201 S. Knoxville Ave.

“Tyson values the opportunity to invest in team members through providing opportunities for them to upskill,” said Rodney Ellis, technical education liaison for refrigeration and maintenance training for Tyson Foods’ corporate office. “The industrial electrical training offered by ATU and ACEF will advance electrical skills for Tyson team members and give them opportunities to advance within the workplace.”

The apprenticeship program is open to any employer or person who has at least some electrical or maintenance knowledge. Companies seeking additional information are encouraged to attend the Jan. 4 informational session.

Send e-mail to to reserve seating at the meeting. Companies may also call ACEF at (501) 372-1590 for details about the apprenticeship.