Rogers Public Schools initiated the Career Launch Work-Ready program in February of this year. The goal of program is to provide opportunities for students to participate in certification and training programs that would prepare them for careers following high school graduation. The program is designed for current seniors and 2019 graduates who will soon begin new jobs and careers. The twenty-seven certification and training programs were purposely selected to align with employment and workforce needs within the Rogers community and Northwest Arkansas region.
COVID-19 Changes Educational Landscape
By the end of February, over 50 students had registered for the certification and training programs that were scheduled to begin on March 1, 2020. With high school graduation just a couple months away, students were anxious to begin the certification and training programs they had selected, each of which would bring them one step closer to a job and career. The news of the COVID-19 pandemic would soon change the educational landscape for students, teachers, parents and the community. The early school closures and pandemic guidelines established new landmarks for how education and learning would continue during the remainder of the school year.
The Career Launch Work-Ready program had just been “launched” and students were beginning the programs. With new guidelines in response to the pandemic, on-line instruction quickly replaced on-site teaching and learning, including the certification and training programs. With determination to continue the Career Launch Work-Ready program for the students, planning and work began to re-design the formats of the certification courses and trainings to ensure compliance with emerging guidelines related to the pandemic.
Partnerships with Local Business and Industry Strengthen
Working collaboratively with local business and industry partners throughout March and April, new program designs emerged, and partnerships grew stronger each day. The connection between education and industry
had become more evident and meaningful in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. History is filled with stories of amazing accomplishments that have come from people working together to overcome adversity. This article is dedicated to those that have helped make the certification courses and trainings possible for these students.
Petra Allied Health and Medical College
Petra Allied Health and Medical College will provide online Certified Nurse’s Assistant (CNA), Phlebotomy Technician and Veterinary Assistant courses for students. Renee Anderson and Joshua Anderson have worked diligently over the past month to design an online platform for the courses that students would have access to from home or off-site locations. They have been tremendous partners and have expressed a commitment to helping the students complete the courses and certification assessments over the summer months.
Business and Industry Training Center
Several students will begin Electrical Systems and other trainings at the Business and Industry Training Center. The director of the center, Julie McAllister, has been very helpful in providing the students training sessions that would accommodate each student’s schedule. She has also secured seats in upcoming trainings for the students to provide them additional skills and knowledge that will be beneficial as they seek employment with local trade industries.
NWA Construction Safety, Inc. | OSHA-10 Training
NWA Construction Safety, Inc. has provided OSHA-10 training to over two hundred students in the Rogers Public Schools during the 2019-2020 school year. Owner, Katie McCarty, will offer the OSHA-10 and OSHA-30 General Industry Safety Training to students in June. She has been instrumental in providing the safety training for students who will pursue jobs in the construction and related trade skills industries, as well as agricultural and health care industries. Katie has been a valuable liaison among the local trade industry and the students who are seeking employment with local companies.
FANUC Robotic Training
NorthWest Arkansas Community College will continue to provide the FANUC Robotic Training to students this summer. Students will have the opportunity to obtain FANUC industry certification in reduced class size settings at the Northwest Arkansas Robotic Training Center in Fayetteville.
Rogers Public Schools would like to express its sincere appreciation and gratitude to their business and industry partners for their continued support and assistance as they navigate the challenges of the pandemic together.
Partnerships help students with opportunities to gain valuable skills and certifications that will help prepare them for bright futures.