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Pulaski Tech awarded a $1.78M grant for an advanced manufacturing program upgrade



Little Rock, Arkansas – The Office of Skills Development of the Arkansas Department of Commerce has granted a grant to the University of Arkansas Pulaski Technical College’s advanced manufacturing program.

To finance improvements to the college’s training facilities at its Main Campus in North Little Rock, the Board of Trustees of the University of Arkansas and the Arkansas Department of Commerce Office of Skills Development, acting on behalf of Pulaski Tech, reportedly signed a memorandum of understanding.

The $1,784,016 award is valid from the present until December 31, 2024.

Beyond Pulaski Tech’s walls, the Department of Commerce’s investment has a direct influence on regional and global businesses making investments in Arkansas.

“Many industries are realizing that they need to bring manufacturing a little closer to home. I think also the opportunity to access the U.S. market continues to be a clear good move for companies like Elopak and Trex, etc.,” said Pulaski Tech Chancellor Summer DeProw.

The manufacturing curriculum at the institution prepares students for employment in several growing industries in Arkansas, including Dassault Falcon Jet and businesses seeking to mine lithium in the state’s southern region.

The award will enable the program to purchase more sophisticated equipment, such as robotics and simulators, to better prepare students for their future careers.

“What we are trying to do is anticipate what is needed and where the companies are going that are coming into central Arkansas as well as the ones that are already here,” DeProw said.

“We are investing money in robotics; we are investing money in mechatronics—and the software application that also goes with all of the machinery, because in today’s world, while we say manufacturing…it is not the early 1900s manufacturing,” she said.

Students can anticipate using more of the more advanced technology that is now in use, such as 3D printers and machines that can imitate several machines.

All of this is especially crucial because there is a skilled labor shortage in businesses across the country.

“There are any number of jobs at entry level, mid-level, or advanced levels in many of our companies that are here locally. But to understand how mathematics, chemistry, physics, etc. all lands in an applied manufacturing environment, that’s the piece that’s missing,” DeProw said.

“And that is our hope here, with the lab that you see plus the new equipment that is coming,” she said, “is that those students will get the hands-on experience that they need to be able to understand.”

The college intends to deploy the new equipment by the end of this year, so it will be acquiring it quickly.




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