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Robot Automation and Cyber Systems - UofAR Fort Smith
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  Amanda Seidenzahl
  Director of Regional Workforce Grants
  University of Arkansas – Fort Smith, AR


The Regional Workforce Grants (RWG) at the University of Arkansas – Fort Smith were implemented in August 2016. The programs were added as a result of a state-wide grant initiative through the Arkansas Department of Higher Education. By working with local business, industry, and workforce development boards, UAFS identified two high demand fields that the grants were designed to support. The RWG Cyber Systems grant offers students an opportunity to pursue university credit in the information technology field while the Robot Automation grant prepares students for a career in electronic technology and automation. Resources and laboratory equipment available to students on the UAFS campus were replicated at each K-12 partner school, and UAFS faculty travel to the school to provide instruction. More than 25 executive and professional industry mentors from ten different partner companies network with students each week and provide a connection to real-world skill application.

The programs were designed to help bridge the skills gap currently seen in manufacturing and information technology sectors. Students in the programs are provided critical and valuable skills necessary to sustain the workforce in the Fort Smith regional economy.

To reach as many students as possible, the program was designed to meet on the high school campus with UAFS faculty members driving to the students’ location. All equipment needed to replicate the program of study taught at the postsecondary level was provided at the partner high school. The equipment either matched existing equipment in use at the university or a more relevant product was purchased to ensure students would transition seamlessly back to the undergraduate or workplace environment.

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