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$2.1 Million Pledged to Support Purchase of Advanced Manufacturing Equipment

FSPS Career and Technology Center main entrance

Contact: Dr. Gary Udouj, Director of Career Education Center and District Innovation, gudouj@fortsmithschools.org  or (479) 785-2501, ext. 1260

At a Glance:

  • Governor Asa Hutchinson announces $2.1 million will support purchase of Advanced Manufacturing Equipment for FSPS career education center
  • Career education partners primed to provide high quality, high-skill training opportunities for area high school students
  • Phase 1 programming includes Advanced Manufacturing, Health Care Sciences and Information Technology
  • Career education center scheduled to open in August 2021.

Fort Smith, AR, January 9, 2020 – Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson and Mike Preston, Arkansas Secretary of Commerce and Executive Director of the Arkansas Economic Development Commission, announced today that $2.1 million dollars from the Office of Skills Development (OSD) of the Arkansas Department of Commerce will be used to support the purchase of advanced manufacturing equipment for the Fort Smith Public Schools career and technology center. The development of this center is a Career Planning partnership project, and was approved as a part of the district’s Vision 2023 Capital Improvement Program by Fort Smith and Barling voters in May 2018.

“We are excited about this investment in the future of so many students throughout our region and very grateful to Governor Hutchinson. These resources will be utilized to create a world-class advanced manufacturing program within the new career and technology center that is scheduled to open in Fall 2021 as part of our Vision 2023 Capital Improvement Program. The advanced manufacturing, health care sciences, and information technology career pathways offered at this facility will equip students with industry-recognized certifications that lead to high-paying jobs immediately after graduation and/or prepare students for higher learning in STEAM-related fields,” said Dr. Doug Brubaker, Fort Smith Public Schools Superintendent.

He continued, “We are also grateful for our partnerships with the University of Arkansas-Fort Smith and the Fort Smith Regional Chamber of Commerce. It is exciting to be part of a process in which so many educators, business leaders, parents, and community members are continuing to work together toward realizing our shared vision of expanded opportunity for students throughout our area.”

Tim Allen, President and CEO of the Fort Smith Regional Chamber of Commerce said, “This is one more piece of a unique, large puzzle that puts Fort Smith in the national spotlight as a business workforce destination where all of the partners in the community are working together toward one unified goal.” 

He added, “With Governor Hutchinson’s office and AEDC recognizing this community’s commitment with their financial support, we are quickly becoming a region that companies want to utilize for advanced manufacturing, healthcare and IT jobs.”

When the center opens in August of 2021, advanced Manufacturing students can earn technical concurrent credit, industry-recognized certifications, certificates of proficiency, technical certificates and potentially Associate Degrees in one of three Advanced Manufacturing pathways including Computer-Integrated Machining, Automation/Robotics and Industrial Maintenance. Work-based learning and apprenticeship opportunities will be available in
partnership with area business and industry partners.

Computer-Integrated Machining will provide opportunities for students to learn Computer-Aided Drafting (CAD), machine technology, setup, operations, metrology, lean manufacturing, and Computer Numerical Control (CNC) manufacturing.

In Automation/Robotics students will learn Communication Systems, Advanced Electronic Circuits, Programmable Logic Controller (PLC) systems, Robot Operations and Wireless Systems.

Industrial Maintenance students will learn Industrial Control Systems, Advanced Electronic Circuits, Energy Auditing, Wireless Systems, Hydraulics & Pneumatics and Robotics.

The equipment to be purchased with the OSD Grant for Advanced Manufacturing include:

Computer Integrated Machining: CNC Mills and Lathes, Tooling and Gaging equipment;

Automation: Robotic Flex Trainers and Tending Robots

Industrial Maintenance: PLC Trainers, Factory Simulation Systems, Motor Control systems, Hydraulic and Pneumatic Systems and Electrical and Mechanical Systems.

See more information about the development of the career education center at these links:

District Receives $1.4 Million for Career Education Center

Udouj Named Career Education Director

Building Donated for Career Education Center

Voters Support Millage Increase