September 23, 2014
7:26 pm
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Grant allows expansion of ASU-MH welding program; partnership formed with Ranger


     A $19,370 grant allocated by the Arkansas Legislature will enable Arkansas State University--Mountain Home to purchase aluminum welding machines to expand its welding program and to work with Ranger Boats in helping train an expanding workforce to build the company's aluminum series of boats. The college and Ranger Boats have partnered on a training program that specifically meets the company's needs and provides a trained 'Ranger-Ready' workforce.
     State Representative Kelley Linck of Yellville recently made the presentation of the General Improvement Fund grant to the college. Linck noted ASU-Mountain Home has played a critical role by adjusting to the workforce needs. He said they had done that in the medical field and now are looking to the industrial side. Linck said he was glad to partner with the college to meet the needs of the community in building a strong workforce.
     The grant will allow the college to enlarge its welding program by purchasing additional aluminum welding machines to go with the one the college already had, according to Dr. Robin Myers, chancellor at ASU-Mountain Home.
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     The welding units will include a push-pull gun, which is a tool utilized by Ranger in their aluminum boat production at Flippin.
     Randy Hopper, president of Fishing Holdings LLC, said the program is already responsible for a good number of Ranger's workforce and the new 'Ranger Ready' process will help them to continue and retain skilled employees. He said ASU-Mountain Home students will have hands-on practical experience with the same MIG welding equipment Ranger uses on site.
     In response for the 'Ranger-Ready' training, Dr. Myers said the college is enlarging its welding program. He said the college is responding to an industry need and Representative Linck stepped forward to help make it possible.
     Dr. Myers said the interest in the welding program and other workforce development and technical skills played an important role in the college's decision to increase the vocational offerings.
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    The 'Ranger-Ready' program will be ready to go very quickly, according to Dr. Myers.
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    The aluminum welding training will include credit and non-credit classes at ASU-Mountain Home. Sarah Brozyniski, the college's director of Workforce Training, said the new equipment will allow students to become skilled in aluminum welding and will create a pipeline of skilled workers for companies that are in need of aluminum welders.

   

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