POCAHONTAS, AR Aug. 30, 2019 – On Thursday, August 29, the Board of Trustees for Black River Technical College approved three initiatives in a specially called meeting.
The board unanimously voted to establish a secondary area technical center with a satellite secondary area technical center on the Paragould campus. The secondary technical centers will build upon the current Technical Opportunities and Pathways for Secondary Students (TOPSS) program whose pilot with the Arkansas Career Education will transition in June. While in high school, students will be able to earn a college certificate in a variety of educational pathways such as allied health (CNA and phlebotomy), welding, industrial electricity, and machine tool. Students will be able to graduate from high school with a college certificate and skill, ready to be employed.
The board also authorized BRTC to develop an instructional site at Arkansas Methodist Medical Center (AMMC) in Paragould. Once established, this site will offer on-campus RN classes at AMMC. BRTC president Dr. Martin Eggensperger said the partnership with AMMC is “ideal. Anything we would have built would have tried to duplicate the hospital experience….Now we are simply there.”
Eggensperger also said he cannot thank former BRTC Trustee and Paragould resident Ray Noel enough for his assistance in developing the partnership. BRTC Board of Trustees chair Carolyn Collins, also a Paragould resident, is very excited about the project and feels it is a “big plus for the college and the Paragould community.”
According to Eggensperger, this type of partnership is unique in Arkansas higher education. He anticipates BRTC moving into the new area this spring to begin offering classes in Fall 2020. BRTC will use the time to seek approval from the Higher Learning Commission (HLC), its accreditor located in Chicago, from the Arkansas State Board of Nursing in Little Rock, and from the Arkansas Department of Higher Education (ADHE) before classes are offered. In addition, some light modifications are needed to the instructional areas.
In other business, the Board authorized the following:
- BRTC to seek a FEMA grant for the construction of a regional emergency response facility at the Pocahontas campus in conjunction with flood mitigation measures, and
- BRTC to make minor edits to the college catalog as necessary, provided the changes do not significantly alter programs or policies.