Arkansas State University - Newport

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ASUN Lobby
January 2021

ASUN awarded workforce grants for essential programs

Newly awarded grant funds will help Arkansas State University-Newport expand three essential programs and allow students to receive more hands-on experience.

ASU-Newport is the recipient of three Regional Workforce Grants through the Arkansas Department of Higher Education. The grants, totaling $518,000, are part of the Phase II Award process.

ASUN’s nursing program received a $297,000 Regional Workforce Grant that will be used to expand simulation experiences. Simulation is a vital part of the learning process for future nurses. It helps them to learn and navigate possible situations before entering the hospital setting. ASUN instructors relied heavily on simulations during the COVID-19 pandemic to supplement the lack of clinical instruction.

Computer Networking Technology received $140,000. This grant will go toward purchasing 20 new Cisco System Equipment Bundles. This equipment is fundamental to our CNT students, as they must learn how to work on a variety of IT products.

Commercial Driver Training received an $81,000 Regional Workforce Grant, as well. These funds will purchase a heavy truck, 48' trailer and supplies. Hundreds of commercial truck drivers graduate from ASUN each year. With more equipment, more student drivers can receive exceptional training. 

The Workforce Initiative Act Regional Workforce Grant Program was established in 2015. According to ADHE, “It seeks to create a statewide, comprehensive structure enabling students in Arkansas universities, community colleges and secondary centers to participate in career and technical education programs developed with input from area employers. The General Assembly found that for Arkansas to compete with an aggressive and effective economic development strategy, we must start by properly evaluating and addressing the workforce education needs of our state.”

This grant program allows for two-year colleges like ASU-Newport to keep its programs competitive and up-to-date in regards to workforce expectations.

Dr. Holly Smith, Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, said these grant funds support the ASUN mission.

“Providing high-quality programs and highly skilled graduates for our region's highest-demand industries has always been our mission at ASUN,” Smith said. “These workforce grant funds will allow us to purchase much-needed equipment to enhance and expand our commercial driver training, computer networking technology, and nursing programs. We are excited to be able to obtain cutting edge equipment in these three program areas to ensure we provide students the wide range of experiences and skills they need to support our local industry partners.”

For more information on these programs visit