Pulaski Technical College has received a $1 million grant from the U.S. Department of Commerce Economic Development Administration to expand its aviation technology center and train more workers for jobs in Arkansas' growing aerospace industry.
U.S. Senator Blanche Lincoln announced the grant Monday at the college's site at 1600 W. Maryland Ave. next to the North Little Rock airport. The grant will be used to build a second training facility, more than doubling the square footage and the number of students who can receive training.
"As Arkansas continues to attract more jobs within the aviation industry, our workforce must be equipped to meet these growing demands," Lincoln said. "I applaud Pulaski Technical College's mission to strengthen our state and invest in our fellow Arkansans, which ultimately provides a better future for us all."
Dr. Dan F. Bakke, college president, also announced the renaming of the center to the Pulaski Technical College Aerospace Technology Center.
"We are excited about this new training facility because of the many opportunities it promises for our students and our partners in business and industry," Dr. Bakke said. "More than anything, we want to help more students succeed by helping them get the training and education they need to support themselves and their families."
The project will further the City of North Little Rock and central Arkansas' economic development initiatives by helping train area workers to fill the high-demand, high-skill jobs in the state's thriving aerospace industry.
View a photo gallery from the event here.
The existing center, built in 1983, has 10,000 square feet. The 25,000-foot expansion will include a hangar-style laboratory, four classrooms, administrative areas, a storage room, a breakroom and restrooms.
Wittenburg, Delony & Davidson is the project architect, and the college is in the process of hiring a contractor. Completion of the project is expected next year.
The $1 million grant will be used in conjunction with a $1.5 million competitive grant the college received in March from the U.S. Department of Labor. That funding is part of the Community-Based Job Training Grants Initiative designed to help community colleges equip workers with the skills needed by growing local industries.
Gov. Mike Beebe has also shown support for the project with a $500,000 allocation from the General Improvement Fund.
Other funding includes $1.75 million earmarked for the aerospace center through the Arkansas Higher Education Technology and Facility Improvement Act of 2005.
Podcast available for direct download: aerospace_press.wma