Dr. Brad Baine, Patti Blaxton, and Priscilla Stillwell
POCAHONTAS, AR Mar. 31—On Tuesday, March 15, 2022, Governor Asa Hutchinson announced at the Jonesboro Chamber of Commerce that The Arkansas Office of Skills Development (OSD), a division of the Department of Commerce is awarding Black River Technical College a $1.339 million dollar grant to develop its CDL Training Program. In addition, the OSD will provide the college with the funds needed to purchase another training truck so the Paragould campus can kickstart its program.
BRTC was among several organizations who submitted grant proposals to the OSD in January, and in February, the college was chosen to present its proposal to the Career Education and Workforce Board “shark tank” style. Patti Blaxton, Director of Corporate and Community Education, led the team that took on the task of presenting BRTC’s initiative to the board. Dr. Martin Eggensperger, BRTC President, Dr. Brad Baine, Vice President of Academic Affairs, and Patti Blaxton were present to accept the grant from the Governor on March 15.
BRTC will begin developing and expanding its CDL training immediately. According to the press release from the Arkansas Office of Skills Development, “This program has the potential of training up to 500 drivers within the next three years. Graduates will be able to go to work immediately, making a living wage in the trucking and transportation industry, helping to alleviate the transportation crisis in Arkansas and around the nation.”
Dr. Martin Eggensperger stated that he was very pleased with the award. He adds, “The team, led by Patti Blaxton, had requested $334,800, so receiving $1.339 million and a training truck for the program demonstrates the level of confidence that the Office of Skills Development has in BRTC. I am proud of the BRTC team for having established a reputation of exceeding the goals they set.”
For more information about BRTC’s Workforce Training, visit https://blackrivertech.org/workforce-corporate-and-community-training.