SouthArk leaders and friends took shovels to dirt at the East Campus for their new Advanced Manufacturing Training Center.
The Delta Regional Authority, announcing earlier this year, they were investing $26 million in strengthening Arkansas’ workforce, and specifically $20,000 in El Dorado for the new structure.
The 14,000 square foot building will give students a place to get their hands dirty.
High school students like Justin Burns who take welding classes at the college say training in the industrial area prepares them for the real-world.
“You’re doing the same stuff as what they would ask on the job,” Burns said. “You take a test, welding test. They bend it just like they would on the job to pass you and certify you. They talk to you and treat you like an adult around here.”
Welding instructors at SouthArk say the new building will give them more space and new equipment, and many agree that the new addition will cause a chain reaction, eventually building up the economy.
“At the end of the day, it’s about jobs,” said Chris Masingall, Federal Co-Chairman of Delta Regional Authority said. “It’s about protecting jobs. It’s about growing jobs. It’s about training your people for future opportunities so they can stay right here in the region. They can stay right here in South Arkansas, Northern Louisiana, and they don’t have to move away to Atlanta or San Francisco or Austin.”
While there are many misconceptions about this line of work, Burns says it is something you should look into.
“Everybody at our other schools who don’t come out here think oh they’re not going to college,” he said. “They’re not getting a good education, but that doesn’t mean you’re not going to make good money. Getting your hands dirty involves money.”