Program offers students hands-on jobs training

For some, a bachelor’s degree is not the only path to a successful career.
Published: Mar. 29, 2023 at 8:32 AM CDT
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JONESBORO, Ark. (KAIT) - For some, a bachelor’s degree is not the only path to a successful career.

The Northeast Arkansas Career and Technical Center allows high school students to take classes that mock real-life careers by providing training from professionals. The center is located at The Academies of Jonesboro High School, 1727 S. Main St.

The NEACTC partners with 13 local high schools: Bay, Brookland, Buffalo Island Central, Greene County Tech., Harrisburg, Jonesboro, Nettleton, Paragould, Riverside, Trumann, Valley View, Walnut Ridge, and Westside.

Students can choose from 12 different career programs to follow.

The program options include everything from welding and auto repair to culinary arts and certified nursing assistant training.

Greene County Tech High School student Carson Parker takes part in welding technology. He said he does not plan to attend a university because he wants to start making money as soon as possible by flipping properties.

“I want to learn all the stuff that goes into that, like electricity, HVAC, and plumbing,” he said. “And use welding as a job to help me make money.”

Director of Student Affairs Sherry Bookout said students enjoy classes more when they aren’t being lectured.

“It’s more hands-on instead of sitting there having to read and learn everything from a book,” said Parker. “I’m actually getting to go out there and mess with the machines and learn from them and how they work.”

The courses are referred to as “shifts” rather than class periods, which makes them feel more like a job.

There are three shifts in a day. The first one starts at 7:50 a.m., the second shift begins at 9:15, and the last starts at 12:15 p.m.

Bookout said she can tell the students really love taking part in this opportunity.

“It’s wild,” she said. “Their cars will be in the parking lot at 7:15 before any of ours are.”

Some programs provide college credit for those that want to attend a university after high school, like the nursing services courses. It allows up to 12 hours of concurrent college credit.

Arkansas State University-Newport and the University of Arkansas-Pulaski Technical College in Little Rock partner with NEACTC to provide college credit courses for 9 of the 12 programs.

The NEACTC pays for all certifications that students receive.

According to Bookout, all programs are state-funded, meaning students will end up debt-free.

For more information, visit the NEACTC’s website here, or call 870-933-5891