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When you enter one of the union apprenticeship programs below, you get paid while you learn a skill that will deliver a solid income for the rest of your life. Secure your future and your place as a respected member of the community through a union apprenticeship program. There is no better teacher than a fellow worker ready to pass on his decades of experience to you. For general information and application contact the Central Arkansas Building and Construction Trades Council at 501-353-2957. For individual union information check websites listed below.



























sprinklerfitters669.org Central Arkansas Building & Construction Trades Council in association with





nabtu.org/councils/arkansas 501-353-2957



Retiring from a family business can be tricky. How will you protect the assets that you’ve built? How do you seamlessly pass on the business to the next generation? How do you make sure your future is secure while the business is still successful? More family-owned businesses in Arkansas are turning to Manufacturing Solutions for guidance on how to transition ownership to the next generation. Developing a sound succession plan is critical for you and your company’s future, and our certified Family Business Advisor can help your business set up for long-term success. Get started with a call to 501-682-1179, or visit mfgsolutions.org/services/fba for more information.

IN THIS ISSUE 6 Welcome 8 Arkansas is Tapping Many Sources For Labor 11 Aviation and Aerospace Jobs are Flying High 12 College Programs Get Students to Work Faster 14 Technical Career Information 16 Apprenticeship Guide 18 Soft Skills: A Key to Success 20 Unions Form the Backbone of Arkansas Workforce 24 Goodwill Gives People a New Start in Life 26 The New Skilled Workplace: Clean, Safe, Tech-Savvy 28 ACEF Supports Statewide Skills Training 30 Arkansas Northeastern College Offers Skills on Multiple Levels 32 Wonder Women: Changing the Game 54 Advice From The Pros THE PROFESSIONS

35 Agri-Timber 36 Allied Health Professions 38 Aviation Technology 39 CAD/CAM Drafter 40 Carpenter 41 CNC Operator



42 Computer Coder/Programmer 43 Diesel Technician 44 Electrician 45 Heavy Equipment Operator 46 HVACR Technician 47 Industrial Maintenance

48 Machinist 49 Plumber 50 U.S. Military Careers in the Trades 52 Process Technology 53 Welder

ALAN LEVERITT Publisher alan@arktimes.com EDITORIAL DWAIN HEBDA Editor MANDY KEENER Creative Director mandy@arktimes.com ADVERTISING PHYLLIS A. BRITTON Sales Director phyllis@arktimes.com ACCOUNT EXECUTIVES BROOKE WALLACE brooke@arktimes.com


LEE MAJOR lee@arktimes.com

dedicated professionals can

DAMIEN POOLE damien@arktimes.com

training that allows them to

TERRELL JACOB terrell@arktimes.com

winning service to our city.


access development and continue providing award-

With over 100 professions, we offer additional training and tuition assistance that advances career paths and quality service. We’re proud to continue our efforts to protect

Kirtley White

our shared sewer system, our

Licensed Master Electrician 14 years with LRWRA

environment and public health.


Learn more about our technical careers including plumbers, welders, utility workers and more at lrwra.com/employment.





501. 376. 2903

BLUEPRINT | 2019 | arktimes.com 5

At any given moment, nearly 60,000 positions go unfilled because local companies cannot find employees with the skills they need to be successful in the new world of industry and manufacturing. It is a scenario that negatively impacts our families, our communities and our state. Once again, Arkansas Times is proud to present BLUEPRINT, a publication designed specifically for high school students, community college students and individuals looking to change careers, as a way to introduce more people to a variety of lucrative tech careers that require less than a four-year degree. Did you know, for instance, that the average salary in the steel industry in Mississippi County is $100,000? Or that many associates (2-year) degrees command more than $50,000, right out of school? Or did you know that today’s industrial and manufacturing workplace looks and operates nothing like the factories of yesterday with advanced technology and clean, safe working environments? These companies require a technology-forward workforce that is also familiar with traditional technical skills such as welding, electrical and plumbing. This year, we’ve focused on several skilled careers in depth, as well as provided a summary of a full range of career options and their training requirements. We also talk to leaders in education, economic development, labor unions, trade organizations and colleges to bring you the latest information on how to forge a rewarding career among many in-demand jobs. Finally, we interview people who are currently in various skilled careers and get their insights about what it takes to succeed in their particular field. These “Near Peer” profiles showcase young people who not long ago were sitting in high school classrooms, wondering what the future held as well as adults who made a change for the better in their professional lives. Today, all are successful and fulfilled in their respective careers. Thank you for reading this issue of BLUEPRINT; we hope it sparks an interest in you or someone in your family. Everyone who enters into a skilled career is helping to build a stronger Arkansas, one project at a time.


Lea pa Vis

Arkansas Manufacturing Solutions, a division of the Arkansas Economic Development Commission, is helping tr workforce training to meet the needs of manufacturers in our state. That’s because new technology and indus Leveritt transforming what a manufacturing job is. Today’sAlan technology-based manufacturing operations require indi Publisher technical and computer programming skills, which means a wider range of job opportunities and better pay And for Arkansas, it means the creation locally of a highly-skilled workforce to be reckoned with in the g

ArkansasEDC.com | Mfgsolutions.org | 501-682-1179




Growing Careers in the Healthcare Field ................................................................ Positions in the healthcare field are increasing at a rapid pace. Certified Nursing Assistants and Patient Support help provide basic care for patients in hospitals and clinics.

Medical records and health information technicians organize and manage health information data.

Certified Nursing Assistants and Patient Support

Medical Records and Health Information Technicians

Projected Job Growth of Occupational Groups 2018-2028 1.9 million

HealtHcare 1.5 million

Food PreParation & Serving o ccuPationS 704,000


tranSPortation & M aterial M oving o ccuPationS 259,000



Between 2018-2028, Medical Records and Health Information Technician positions are expected to grow

conStruction and extraction o ccuPationS

Number of Jobs 0

Between 2018-2028, Certified Nursing Assistants are expected to grow






For more information about career opportunities within health centers across the state of Arkansas, please visit www.chc-ar.org or call 501-374-2148.


Resources: www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/medical-records-and-healthinformation-technicians.htm

www.bls.gov/ooh/food-preparation-and-serving/home.htm www.bls.gov/ooh/transportation-and-material-moving/home.htm https://www.bls.gov/ooh/construction-and-extraction/home.htm BLUEPRINT | 2019 | arktimes.com 7

Now Hiring: Arkansas tapping many sources to meet skilled labor needs. BY DWAIN HEBDA


t’s a familiar song by now, the steady drive by manufacturing and industry to find more skilled workers. From the bustling Northwest. Arkansas corridor to the wind-swept Arkansas Delta; from Jonesboro to Arkadelphia and every stop in between, companies are turning over every stone to find the labor to support the state’s growth opportunities. And while there have been strides made, there’s an awful long way to go, experts say. “We’re involved in a lot of initiatives [to find labor],” said Mark Windle, vice president of Arkansas operations for Manhattan Road & Bridge Co. and vice president of Associated General Contractors Arkansas. “We’re looking for ways to increase our workforce because it is somewhat of a dampening. There’s a lot of work out there right now, but we are limited as to how to staff it. “We’ve stretched our tentacles out looking for people, we’re having to hire people from out of state and bring them in. I spent half of yesterday interviewing people trying to get more jobs. I would say we probably have around 150 people in our workforce in central Arkansas from Manhattan Road and Bridge; I could hire another 10 or 15 today without breaking a sweat or busting budgets.” Windle’s experience is not just an Arkansas problem. Many local companies would ship people in from anywhere to fill their labor needs, but as the numbers point out, there’s no place to bring them in from. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates there are some 300,000 unfilled jobs in the construction industry nationwide right now. More than that,



an additional 747,000 workers will be needed by 2026. two years max, and start making $60,000-$80,000 “It’s definitely an employees’ market. It’s a tight a year.” labor market. It’s tough on companies and employGetting people into those high-paying jobs is ers nationwide,” said Clint O’Neal, executive vice more complicated than simply showing up at a president of global development for the Arkansas job fair. Dean said one of the problems has been Economic Development Commission. trade associations, unions and other groups have all “Arkansas, by sheer numbers, is going to have an worked on their own without collaborating. Not so uphill battle on large projects. I think a lot of com- anymore; a growing number of initiatives showcaspanies take an easy way out and say if we can go to ing skilled careers have taken flight in recent years a metro area of 3 million to 5 million people, surely that include individual companies, associations and there’s going to be the employees there to fill what state government working together. we need. Whereas, if they’re looking at a community “We partner with a lot of people, internal agenof 10,000 to 500,000, it might seem like more of an cies, the Department of Commerce, as well as other uphill battle to find 200 to 400 employees. We have entities such as Restore Hope, Goodwill Industries, to work harder than a lot of other states.” those kind of folks,” said Steve Sparks, director of All of this is good news for anyone looking for a existing business resources with AEDC. “We’re job and for young people seeking to enter the labor also working with career and technical centers at market for the first time. With the skyrocketing cost the high schools and the career tech organizations, of four-year colleges and the crushing student loan trying to get more folks into this pipeline into the debt that comes with it, organizations and compa- technical fields. nies are in overdrive trying to sell the benefits of a “I also think you’re seeing more collaboration skilled career. of industries within a region —Saline County, Fort “Somebody who’s raw out of high school, they Smith, Northeast Arkansas, Northwest Arkansas don’t really have the skills, not much training. They —there’s a collaboration of industry driving that could come to work as a laborer and then it’s just a purpose.” matter of getting experience and learning the difExperts agree that the work going into attractferent trades,” said Joey Dean, AGC executive vice ing people to skilled education and careers is slowly president. “Our position is, we’ll let you do anything showing results. But they also are quick to point out you want to do. We need the people at all levels. If that there’s still a hurdle to get over in the decadessomeone comes in and can learn and go through old attitude about skilled careers as dirty and danthe training, we’re going to progress them. gerous with limited opportunity. “A lot of people can go to classes for six months, Lindsay Brown, business representatives with

International Union of Painters & Allied Trades District Council 80/Local 424 doesn’t mince words on the subject. “When I went to school in the mid- ’70s you had bricklaying, carpentry, sheet metal working, drafting, welding,” he said. “They made things available because the industry needed it. I think by the mid- ’80s shop was gone in school. “I wish school districts, guidance counselors, career coaches, technical educators would be more honest with the parents and the kids. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with saying, ‘Mr. and Mrs. Smith, your daughter is a middle-of-the-road student. This college preparatory thing may not be what she needs. Have you considered trying to encourage her to look at an occupation that’s a trade?’” Brown said one of the things that’s drawing new people to skilled training in general, and the unions in particular, is that it makes much more financial sense than taking on unnecessary debt. “I know by and large when we’re talking about construction trades and apprenticeships, a lot of folks don’t know that the unions exist. If they do, everyone’s thinking about Jimmy Hoffa,” he said. “We’re industrydriven, we look at the needs of our employers to make sure we’re up to snuff and doing what we have to, to provide qualified manpower. “Meanwhile, there’s health insurance attached, collective bargaining agreements, pension, savings plans. Some folks have holiday and vacation pay. If somebody doesn’t have a high school diploma, we align them to get their GED or English as a Second Language because we want people to succeed.”

LABOR SHORTAGE LEADS INDUSTRY INTO NEW DIRECTIONS The extreme labor shortage means good things for prospective workers, but new people aren’t filling these slots fast enough. This means companies like Manhattan Road & Bridge have to get creative in mining alternate sources of labor. Here are three examples: FORMERLY INCARCERATED “We’ve hired several people that have come out of prison,” said Mark Windle, vice president of Arkansas operations. “They’ll call us and say, ‘Do you hire somebody that’s come out of prison. Well, we will if they can pass a drug test and we know that they’re clear with their parole officer. We’ve found some good employees; it’s just they had a misstep in their life. They deserve a second chance.” HISPANICS “Our workforce of Hispanics has grown. I’ve been in Arkansas almost 20 years. We had very few Hispanic workers when I came here,” Windle said. “Now our workforce is probably getting close to 40 percent. “Hispanic workers are very productive. They’re hard workers. They show up every day. There’s a little bit of a language barrier, so now we encourage our people to learn some Spanish to be able to communicate better. That’s helped. A lot of things we do is in English and Spanish for our documentation and paperwork and safety training.” TECHNOLOGICALLY SAVVY The firm harnesses technology in operations to help make existing labor get more done and generally run leaner. Technology is also attracting new skill sets to the worksite. “I know so many kids that want to be on the computer all the time. Hell, we can do that, too,” Windle said. “We’ve got surveyors now, graduate engineers, doing our project control, surveying. The tech is unbelievable in what we can do with remote sensing and stuff like that. It’s not like it’s a dumb job. If you like technology, there’s a place for that.”

STATE ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT ROLLS OUT FUTURE FIT INITIATIVE “With so many people in our industry, what attracts them is they want to build something. They want to be part of something. When you’re going to school it’s more theoretical. But when you’re out building something — I can go down some road and go, ‘Twenty years ago we built this,’ or ‘Fifteen years ago we did that.’ To me, that’s a pride of your work.” — Mark Windle, vice president of Arkansas operations Manhattan Road & Bridge Co.

Seeking a way to make sure the state’s educational institutions are teaching the skills most in demand by employers, the Arkansas Economic Development Commission devised Future Fit. The curriculum, which was two years in the making, helps keep training up to date with what’s happening in the workplace. “We gathered up about 10 different companies, all private industries, all nationally and internationally known companies, in the same room and walked them through a process of a job profile for three different categories of jobs,” said Steve Sparks, existing business resources director with AEDC. “We have created a curriculum to address those and have put the first one in place which has been an entry level assembly operator-type job. It identifies probably 80-85 percent of the skills that companies are looking for.” Future Fit’s inaugural class graduated this December and set the stage for expanding the program to other locations. “The first class of that was with UA Fort Smith,” Sparks said. “Although it’s a small class of about 10, we fully expect those guys all to have jobs when they leave that program. We rolled it out as a pilot in Fort Smith but we’re about to roll it out at 10 other colleges early in January. We’re taking that statewide and maybe even further later in the year, going through the community colleges as a delivery system.” “If there are folks working in a low-paying job and they have the ambition to do a lot more, this training program does not take long at all,” said Clint O’Neal, AEDC’s executive vice president of global development. “Just a short time of classroom and hands-on instruction can prepare people to go into an entry-level production job. I think in a lot of instances we’re going to see people go from minimum wage to closer to $13-$15 as a starting wage and get on a career ladder to work their way up with these companies.”

BLUEPRINT | 2019 | arktimes.com 9


GARY YANCEY AGE: 54 EDUCATION: U.S. Air Force (ret.) JOB: Generator Tech, RP Power, North Little Rock SNAPSHOT: Yancey puts his military training to good use for RP Power. He’s deployed to customer sites throughout the company’s service area to install, repair and maintain backup generators. WHAT’S YOUR JOB LIKE AT RP POWER? We go around and service and take care of commercial, industrial and residential generators that people and companies have. We maintain them, we do start-ups on them, which is basically when someone buys one we go there and get it all set up for them to power the building. We travel all over the state of Arkansas, some of us. If we have some guys in Memphis who are short-handed, they’ll send me to help them out. WHAT ARE WORKING CONDITIONS LIKE? Sometimes you’ll find a generator in an underground parking lot, so you’re kind of out of the weather. But I’d say 90 percent of the time you’re in the elements. WHAT DO YOU LIKE ABOUT YOUR JOB? My job with RP is different every day. I don’t know what’s going to happen. Every time I get a job, I go to a different area and I don’t know what to expect when I get there. That’s a challenge to me, but when I finish that I’m like, ‘Yeah, I did that.’ It gives you a sense of accomplishment. This job, I love it. It may be something simple as a battery change. Or it may be something so complicated that the utility power coming into the building may be affecting a generator. You may spend hours troubleshooting or you may spend minutes troubleshooting. WHAT KIND OF TRAINING DO YOU NEED TO DO THIS WORK? I was mostly trained through the military as a mechanic; I have a very high aptitude in mechanical inclination. I had a little bit of knowledge about electrical. So, once I got into the military they enhanced that. I went to school left and right. It taught me the basics on generators in the military. I don’t know if schools even do this now, but I personally believe they need to bring back shop. When I was a kid, we had teachers that taught you to weld and do all kinds of stuff. I would say being electrical and mechanically inclined would help you quite a bit in this field.



The stereotype of skilled careers being work that doesn’t lead anywhere is a flimsy one. Just like any other industry, opportunities abound for a wide variety of people to build a meaningful and often lucrative career over time. “I can go out and bid work and probably get enough crafts people, but you’ve got to have somebody to manage the job, got to have somebody to plan the job, schedule the job, and that’s gotten to be as big a part as anything,” said Mark Windle, vice president of Arkansas Operations with Manhattan Road & Bridge Co.. “We’ll graduate people out of being a laborer up to a carpenter, move up to a foreman or a lead man, then move up to a superintendent level and on up. Used to be, in the construction industry, that’s how everybody learned. You came to work and worked your way up. All the guys I know want to promote within if they can and it’s a much faster progression nowadays.” People don’t have to start at the very bottom either, said Joey Dean, Associated General Contractors Arkansas executive vice president. “There’s so many opportunities in construction — whether it’s vertical construction, highway, utility — other than just the outdoor heavy lifting,” he said. “There’s a lot of accounting. There’s a lot of drafting. There’s a lot of engineering. There’s a lot of estimating. There are a tremendous number of professional careers available in this industry that people often don’t understand.” These same career opportunities apply to union workers, even though that’s not always the perception, said Lindsey Brown with the International Union of Painters & Allied Trades District Council 80/Local 424. “One of the things we try to impress upon folks who come in here as apprentices is this is for life,” he said. “This is an opportunity to start here, finish in 30-35 years, retire, have a pension, annuity, savings plan and maintain health insurance throughout the year. But there are many other things you can do. “You can become a project manager. You can become an estimator. We have training for all that. We try to identify folks that have leadership skills, so we do foreman training. We do superintendent training. We also prepare folks to become trainers. We tell apprentices just because you finished your apprenticeship and became a journey person doesn’t mean your career stops.”

“I think it’s a natural, normal and expected thing for every parent to want something better for their children. But what that looks like may be changing with all the statistics about student debt and how many years it’s going to take to pay that off. I think we’re seeing a shift in thinking that looks hard and long at what it’s going to take for me to get to where I want to go. We’re all trying to remove the stigma that trades are a fallback position, not a chosen position.” — Joey Dean, AGC executive vice president

SKY HIGH Aviation and aerospace jobs have grads flying high.


rowing up in her dad’s motorsports shop, Abigail Schreyer fell in love with engines and things that go fast. As a high school junior, she knew she wanted to do something in a mechanical field. Beyond that, she was a little fuzzy. “My parents were like, ‘OK, what do you want to do?’” she said. “I was like, ‘I don’t even know. Something maintenance-related because that’s what I enjoy.’ So, we looked up high-paying maintenance jobs and aviation maintenance was one of the big ones that popped up, and I was like, ‘Wait, I can do that? That’s a thing that I can do?’” More and more students in Arkansas are getting the same a-ha moment that Schreyer experienced. As the aviation and aerospace industry continues to grow in The Natural State, the demand for qualified workers has also risen. In addition to aircraft maintenance, like Schreyer pursued, there’s a growing field in the state’s defense industry, Dr. Jason Morrison, chancellor of Southern Arkansas University Tech in Camden, said. “There’s ups and downs in all industries and right now the aerospace industry is really taking off,” he said. “It’s really something that’s the marquee for the state of Arkansas as far as an economic growth opportunity. We feel like we play a vital role in helping serve the state of Arkansas by providing customized training to those industries.” Aerospace companies in Arkansas produce a variety of materials for military applications. In Camden alone, there’s a growing number of firms large and small that work in different areas of military aerospace from airplane components to ordinance, the explosives Uncle Sam drops on the bad guys. As the industry has grown, SAU Tech’s educational programs have grown

right along with it. “Level I and Level II nondestructive testing is really big in this area,” Morrison said. “This is a new program for us and it goes beyond the local aerospace industry. This will touch industries all across the state of Arkansas. Aviation programmers utilize some of the nondestructive testing training here in their program at Tech. We feel like this is a strong area. “Advanced manufacturing skills training is also essential because the workforce is arriving without a kind of infrastructure to those skill sets. This program really helps put boots on the ground who are hire-ready to work out on the floors of their industry. That’s something the state of Arkansas has been talking about a lot is those essential skills for the high-technology, highly advanced manufacturing world.” Schreyer’s decision to attend SAU turned on a combination of distance from home and the fact she could graduate into the workforce in just two years, minimizing both time and cost, which she did. She now works for Central Flying Service in Little Rock where she inspects, repairs and maintains aircraft. “I graduated Saturday, May 4, 2019, and had a job the next Tuesday, May 7. I was out of school and into work,” she said. “Today I’m sitting here in my career job and I still have friends I graduated high school with who I see every day working at Walmart, who are still going to class. They’re not even close to getting their stuff done. I could not be happier.”

BACK TO SCHOOL College programs help get younger students to work faster. BY DWAIN HEBDA


growing number of high schoolers are able to complete their technical training faster than ever, thanks to programs offered through Arkansas’s two-year schools. These programs give students the opportunity to complete much, if not all, of their college coursework while still enrolled in high school. What’s more, these programs are often available at no cost or at a steep discount over regular tuition and fees. “A big push right now is to have students graduate high school ready to go directly into a career,” said Bill Ritter with National Park College in Hot Springs. “That means taking what a two-year college has traditionally done with someone 18 or older, pushing that down and working with those high school-aged students so the second they graduate high school they’re ready to be a welder or they’re ready to work on cars, or they’re ready to be a graphic designer. That’s a major change.” Ritter said one way colleges are reaching young people is through special courses that deliver college credit right alongside high school credit. And, as Adult Education helps those young adults who dropped out of high school altogether, technical programs are also stacked with those completing their basic core competencies. “Concurrent credit is a huge thing; we also have to provide that skill training while they’re working on their high school diplomas,” he said. “But we also provide that in adult ed as well. We provide skill training while they’re earning their GED.” Such programs are usually constructed in partnership with local high schools. Dr. Jason Morrison, chancellor of Southern Arkansas University Tech in Camden, said without the cooperation of high school principals, the programs wouldn’t be nearly as successful as they are today. “We work with our high schools,” he said. “We participate in STEM fairs. We have the career academies that take a population of high school students and



introduce them to different career tracks. We also have standard concurrent credit, many times getting the kids on campus. We’re doing a lot to push the career technical education. “We’re doing a lot to push the career technical education because there’s still such a misunderstanding of what the manufacturing world looks like. I think that’s going to take time to get that message out there to the students.” SAU Tech’s programs serve both students seeking to train in a trade and local industry seeking to provide customized or continuing education to their employees. Its concurrent credit program allows students to take college courses while still in high school, cutting down the time and expense it takes to get a certificate or two-year degree. But it’s also a big part of capturing students’ attention early and focusing it on the many career opportunities available. “I think many students, when they think about manufacturing, it’s almost like they go back to their world history class or their American history class of the early 1900s in the Industrial Age and you’re in a dark factory with loud machines cranking,” he said. “I also think we, historically, have had a culture that pushes students towards a four-year degree and nothing else. I think it’s because many people don’t have a comprehensive understanding of what some careers in technical professions looks, like.” North Arkansas College in Harrison has developed the NorthArk Technical Center, a robust program for providing training to high school students, saving them money and time toward their certificate or associates degree. “We serve about 18 different school districts in our area and have opportunities for them to send their students here,” said Nell Bonds, dean of technical and outreach programs. “They’ll come to our campus in the afternoons and they can

participate in these programs while they’re high school juniors and seniors. We will even occasionally have a few sophomores if they are motivated and ready for the college environment. “If they stay in the program for two years, many of them are completing certificates of proficiency and getting industry certifications. And the really neat thing about that program for our high school students is, they get to participate in it at no cost.” Attending the school’s technical center can save students and their families as much as $2,500 over taking the same courses after high school graduation. The college also helps augment the curriculum at its partner high schools in areas many schools would find difficult to offer on their own. “Many of our high schools are very rural,” she said. “It’s very difficult for them to be able to provide the type of equipment and instructional materials and things that they would need for students who are interested in these programs. By collaborating together with them we can take a group of students from a smaller school district and pair that with five or six others from other area schools, raising the opportunity for everyone.”

CONCURRENT CREDIT VERSUS DUAL CREDIT WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE? In general, colleges offer two types of classes to high schoolers: concurrent credit and dual credit. Concurrent credit courses are college classes students take in addition to their high school course load. These classes may be held at the student’s high school, but more commonly they are held at the college, especially if the field of study requires special equipment or technology. Dual credit courses are classes that fulfill both a high school requirement and a college requirement in the same class. Again, these courses may be taught at the high school or the college, depending on subject matter. Instructors are often employees of the college or high school teachers who have been trained to cover subject matter in a certain way.

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LOTTERY ANNOUNCES NEW CONCURRENT CREDIT PROGRAMS Concurrent credit is about to become even more attractive in Arkansas, thanks to a program through the Arkansas Scholarship Lottery that will make these classes free to qualifying students. The Arkansas Concurrent Challenge Scholarship will award eligible high school students $125 per course for up to two endorsed concurrent enrollment credit courses per semester at eligible two-year or four-year public and private, nonprofit colleges or universities. This means a junior who takes advantage of the program each semester for two years can complete eight college courses by the time they graduate without paying anything in tuition, saving thousands. Depending on the course of study and college, that could earn a high schooler their professional certificate by the time they reach graduation or get them well on their way to virtually any other degree at a two-year institution. For complete details of the Arkansas Concurrent Challenge Scholarship, see your high school guidance office or contact the two- or four-year Arkansas college or university of your choice. Or, visit the Arkansas Department of Higher Education website, scholarships.adhe.edu, or reach the Arkansas Department of Higher Education’s Financial Aid department at finaid@adhe. edu, 800-54-STUDY, 501-371-2050.

BLUEPRINT | 2019 | arktimes.com 13

Tech Career Education Guide for Community Colleges and Technical Institutes

















































































































University of Arkansas Cossatot 870-584-4471 Campuses: De Queen, Ashdown, Nashville, Lockesburg





























BLUEPRINT | 2019 | arktimes.com 15


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Guide to Apprenticeship Programs for Technical Careers





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LITTLE ROCK ELECTRICAL JATC Little Rock 501-565-0768 MCGEHEE ELECTRICAL Elkins 870-222-3808








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UAM COLLEGE OF TECHNOLOGY Crossett 870-364-6414



MCGREW SERVICE COMPANY Hot Springs 501-760-3440



GARLAND COUNTY PLUMBING Hot Springs 501-623-4562


JATC OF ARKANSAS Little Rock 501-372-5150






Arkadelphia 870-246-0320



BLUEPRINT | 2019 | arktimes.com 17

THE SECRET INGREDIENT Soft skills are the ‘it’ factor for success. BY DWAIN HEBDA


f you’re looking for the secret to rapid advancement in your career, assess your expertise in soft skills. Experts say these complementary skills are the “it” factor that separates one employee from another. “If you have [soft skills], you will excel much more than someone who doesn’t,” said Tina Davis, vice president/employee services director with Nabholz Construction in Conway. “I believe that it takes you up the company ladder faster because you not only can do the technical side, but you are able to deal with people.” Soft skills are those proficiencies that have nothing to do with the technical requirements of a job. They include such things as being on time, communicating effectively, possessing people skills and being able to work as part of a team. “Quite honestly, it’s not the day-to-day buildings that are usually the issues, it’s the dealing with the people that becomes your issue,” Davis said. “Your employees, your subcontractors, your customers, your clients, if you’re not able to communicate and you don’t have those soft skills, you won’t succeed in the business.” There was a time when such skills developed



organically as a person grew and had to interact with others on a sports team, on a school project or even in social settings. But as technology has steadily taken over modern life — including in interpersonal relationships — people have fewer day-today opportunities to develop those skills. As a result, many colleges are beginning to incorporate formal coursework on soft skills in order to develop students into valued employees. “That has been a huge conversation here, across the state and across the country,” said Nell Bonds, dean of technical and outreach programs at North Arkansas College in Harrison. “Students really need to develop these skills, our adult students just as much as our younger students. We have some strategies in place here for that.” Bonds said the NorthArk program stresses on such things as technical communications focused on the kinds of interactions students need to be prepared for in the workplace. The course teaches how to handle situations, how to work in a team environment, how to take the initiative. Dr. Jason Morrison, chancellor of Southern Arkansas University Tech in Camden, said his school takes a different approach to developing

these skills in students. “I’m a big believer that if you send a student to college for two years there are soft skills that are being developed in that process through all the courses they take about meeting deadlines, knowing how to complete assignments, critical processing, civic engagement,” he said. “All that general education learning that goes along with career and technical education is helping in that soft skills development. Over two years, there’s a growth and maturity there.” Morrison said this more general approach helps students recognize there are many approaches one can take to be an effective worker, and these approaches will change with individual employers. “A lot of times what we’re educating is not one particular skill set, but we’re creating an infrastructure in that student that they become a teachable student that can learn the individual aspects of any industry that they may enter into,” he said. “We have to realize we can’t teach you exactly what’s happening on Industry A’s floor because there’s a lot of privacy information involved. But what we can do is build that student to where they have the capacity to learn that on their own.”

TODD LANE AGE: 23 EDUCATION: Sheet Metal Workers’ Local 36 JOB: Sheet metal apprentice, Little Rock Sheet Metal SNAPSHOT: After serving his country in the United States military, the Benton native returned home to begin his career in the trades.

THREE KEY SOFT SKILLS FOR SUCCESS PUNCTUALITY WHAT IS IT: Being consistently on time; being dependable. WHY IT’S IMPORTANT: Many jobs today, especially jobs in the skilled fields, work on tight deadlines and labor budgets. This demands they get the very most from their employees during the hours they are paying them. Failing to show up on time impedes productivity and negatively impacts the team. “We use timeclocks in our programs, so when a student attends class here they actually clock in and out like they would in a job environment. That gives them more of a real-life look at how they’re going to need to be on time for work and how important that is. And if they can demonstrate while they’ve been a student here that their record with us was really positive and that they were on time, they can take that record with them to a job interview and show that HR director or manager, yes, I will be on time.” — Nell Bonds, dean of technical and outreach programs, North Arkansas College ACCOUNTABILITY WHAT IS IT: Taking responsibility for one’s actions on the job and off; owning up to mistakes. WHY IT’S IMPORTANT: There are few things that will derail a worker’s career faster than constantly passing the buck, blaming others or generally making excuses for everything that comes along. As part of a team, you’re expected to hold up your end and take the blame as well as the credit when its warranted. “That is one of the big ones. People by and large are capable of doing so much more than they think they are, but they have to be respectful, they have to show up on time, they have to be consistent. Those are the basic things you have to have as a foundation. We do more training on basic soft skills these days with new employees. We outline the basic expectations and expect them to be followed.” —Mark Windle, vice president of Arkansas operations, Manhattan Road & Bridge Co. and vice president of Associated General Contractors Arkansas LEADERSHIP WHAT IS IT: A broad term to describe mastery of a number of important softs skills such as communication, teamwork and setting a good example for others to follow. WHY IT’S IMPORTANT: Every organization succeeds or fails on the quality of leadership­—and the ability to inspire others to greater performance. Leadership has no job title or rank; it can be found anywhere within a corporate organization, from the CEO to the front-line entry worker. “We encourage our employees to take advantage of the different levels of leadership classes that we offer within the company. We also bring in speakers to teach and encourage our employees how to develop your leadership skills, how to get rid of your bad habits and tone up those good skills that you have to develop not only yourself but in your team around you. Honestly, a good leader is usually not the best person on the team as far as their technical skills; they know how to hire and coach the good people.” — Tina Davis, vice president/employee services director, Nabholz Construction

WHAT MADE YOU WANT TO GET INTO THIS LINE OF WORK? I knew about different apprenticeships and knew about this one with sheet metal in particular. I’ve always wanted to work with metal and be able to weld and do fabrication. So this job kind of stuck out to me. WHAT ARE SOME SKILLS YOU CAME IN WITH? WHAT DID APPRENTICE TRAINING TEACH YOU? This one is a four-year training program. We go to class during the evening two nights a week, on Monday and Tuesday. A lot of the training is basic math, there’s a lot of math involved with this job. A little bit of algebra, but not a whole lot. It’s measurements and figuring out the radius of a round and the diameters of things. It’s fairly simple once you get the hang of it. ON THE JOB, WHAT USUALLY MAKES UP AN APPRENTICE’S WORKDAY? Usually I’ll do multiple different things. Like, we went to the Stephens Building last week and we were putting up units inside the building, hanging up some ducts, putting stuff together. And today we’re putting some ducts together and throwing it in a trailer and getting it ready for next week when we’re going out and putting it up. I usually work with a different person every day trying to learn their different styles, learn the different ways they do things. WHAT’S THE MAIN SELLING POINT OF WHAT YOU DO? It’s a very flexible kind of job. If you lose your job and you’ve been welding and putting different kinds of metal together, you’re not going to be limited to doing one type of work. You’ll be able to work for any kind of company that deals in metal, any kind of welding company. WHAT CLASS OR ACTIVITY CAN HIGH SCHOOLERS DO THAT WILL GIVE THEM A HEAD START IN THIS CAREER? I would tell them anything that would have to do with using their hands. Even woodworking shop would help because you learn to rely on your hands and use those different tools. You gain a knowledge of how to work from something like that.

BLUEPRINT | 2019 | arktimes.com 19

UNITED THEY STAND Unions provide training, opportunity for members. BY DWAIN HEBDA


rkansas’s trade unions are playing a vital role in the development of new workers while providing for their members’ health and welfare on the job. Groups such as UBC Millwrights and Central South Carpenters in Russellville, Sheet Metal Workers’ Local 36 in North Little Rock, and International Union of Painters & Allied Trades in Little Rock, among others, all work to prepare the next generation of craftsmen and women and help them provide for their families. And as anyone who’s in a union will tell you, new membership is coming from all walks of life. “We’re getting a lot of folks that have some college or associate’s degrees or even folks that have a bachelor’s degree,” said Lindsay Brown, business representative with IUPAT District Council 80/ Local 424. “It’s kind of hard when you graduate with an accounting degree and you’re able to only find a job that pays $30,000-$35,000 a year. You have that student loan debt.” “The fastest-growing group through my council would be minorities. I’ve also seen a huge influx of younger people just in the Russellville area,” said Jeremy Hughes, business representative with Central



South Carpenters Regional Council. “We’ve hired two new Spanish-speaking scaffold instructors and we’ve put on several bilingual staff.” Union leadership said two things are most unexpected for people who are checking out a union for the first time. One is how sophisticated today’s trades skill sets are. The second is the quality of the training programs. Nearly every union today provides industry-specific training at no charge to members, be it the rank beginner or continuing education for longtime members. “Our training is different than a trade school because if you go to one of the trade schools, like their welding shop to get a welding certificate, you’d get a certificate that says you have been taught to weld,” said Danny Graves, business manager for Sheet Metal Workers’ Local 36. “In our school, when you walk out of there, if you decide to walk out as a welder, then you are a certified welder, in 2G, 3G, stick, MIG and TIG. “Most of the people I see coming from [trade schools] that say they know how to weld, they’ve been taught the principles but they really don’t know how to weld.” Union training programs called apprenticeships

combine classroom training with on-the-job learning. Apprentices work their day jobs and attend school a couple of times per week, the actual schedule of which varies from trade to trade. UBC Millwrights Local 216’s program is more or less typical of apprenticeship training. “We offer a four-year apprenticeship program and we can take somebody that has little to no understanding of tool usage,” said Matthew Nowlin, business representative. “In the first year we teach basic tool usage up to precision measurement and use of precision tools because we’re a precision craft. And then the second year we focus on blueprint reading and welding and layout, some fabrication. “Then it goes more advanced our third year and starts getting into machinery alignment and optical alignment. And our fourth year is the most advanced. We teach turbine training and pump rebuild and setup. Then we do more emphasis on the machinery alignment aspect of it because that’s a big part of what we do.” As apprentices move through the training program, they’re typically rewarded with pay raises for classroom performance, Brown said. “Apprenticeship is based on your hours worked,


your classroom time and your proficiency,” he said. “The three of those gives you a raise, and we do our raises annually. An apprentice starts at 70 percent of the journeyman’s wage. The second year, they go to 80 percent. The third year, they’re at 90 percent and then they graduate. “For our industrial painters that go on there’s another year and that’s the coating applicator specialist, the third-party certification that we host here. To my knowledge, we are the only approved testing facility for coating applicator specialists, which is specified by the Society of Special Protector Coatings.” Such specialties not only make a worker more employable and at higher wages, but keeps up with industry demands. Nowlin said many people are surprised at the complexity of the training needed to match what’s expected on today’s jobsite. “One of the areas that I get excited about for these kids is mechatronics,” he said. “Mechatronics, the robotic arms, there’s a lot of that in automotive manufacturing. We have started to add mechatronics training to our curriculum to let these kids get familiar with the robotic arms, how they’re set up, how they’re installed, how they operate. “The other big change, which was a few years ago, would be the laser alignments. As soon as that technology hit the market, we got the tooling to teach it.” Unlike other training options, a union’s responsibility doesn’t end when a member completes an apprenticeship. Members look to unions to help connect them to work or to enhance their skill set in areas that command top dollar “A lot of my guys make a very good living doing scaffolding,” Hughes said. “They’ll travel throughout the United States doing power plant outages, chemical plants, paper mills, steel mills. All these plants have shutdowns to do maintenance. We supply carpenters throughout the United States. I’ve got guys working in New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, California, Louisiana, Texas, just all over. “A lot of my carpenters that have the experience in everything are starting to retire. I emphasize that these apprentices need to take the form classes, take the metal stud classes. Right now we’re doing a big push up in NorthW. Arkansas. We’ve got a ton of commercial buildings going up needing metal stud and drywall guys. It’s an astronomical amount of work up there for that and we’ve got a manpower shortage throughout the state for skilled tradesmen.” Graves said, “We are made up of just regular middle-class Americans basically looking for that stability in their life. That is in all ethnic groups. They’re just wanting stability.”

CHELSIE ROACH AGE: 28 EDUCATION: Lamar High School, International Union of Painters & Allied Trades SNAPSHOT: The Florida native makes her living as an industrial painter with projects that include the Arkansas Nuclear One facility outside of Russellville. HOW DID YOU GET TURNED ON TO A SKILLED CAREER? My mother is actually a crane operator with the union trades. My step-dad is an electrician by trade and my Nana was a welder and her husband was a pipefitter. We kind of grew up in the construction trade. They gave me a really good life growing up. Very proud. WAS IT ALWAYS YOUR PLAN TO FOLLOW IN THEIR FOOTSTEPS? College was never really for me, per se. I preferred to get out in the world and be hands-on with everything that I do. So I followed in their footsteps. They were able to give me a very good life and now I’m doing the same for my family. WHAT ARE SOME THINGS YOU WOULD TELL PEOPLE ABOUT YOUR CAREER THAT MIGHT SURPRISE THEM? Most people think painting is just putting something on a paint brush and slapping it on a wall or pipe. But there’s a lot of different chemicals that are involved and you have to be very careful because some of the solvents can be very harmful to your skin and your lungs if you don’t follow the proper protocol. It’s a lot of hard work and dedication that goes into it. DO YOU SEE MORE WOMEN GOING INTO THE SKILLED FIELDS? I do see more women going into the painting industry and I think it’s because we have a steadier hand. I have seen quite a few women go into welding as well. My Nana was a welder, which was very uncommon back in her day. It’s very important that if a female wants to go into the construction industry that they know that they’re not alone. There’s plenty of women nowadays that are coming forth and doing a really good job in the industry.



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UNIONS AT A GLANCE • A labor union is an organization that represents a given set of workers, negotiating on their behalf for such things as better working conditions, higher wages and job security. • Trade unions represent workers who do a particular type of job such as electricians or plumbers. • Industrial unions represent workers in a particular industry, such as actors or auto workers. • Unions came about during the Industrial Revolution, a time when America was shifting from an agricultural-based economy to manufacturing. Factory workers, many of them immigrants or people with very little formal education, were at the mercy of management and often worked in horrific conditions for pitiful pay. • Union members pay dues and this money goes to fund various benefits and services such as insurance, retirement and training programs. Dues also pay for union staff members who work on the membership’s behalf. • Collective bargaining is a term used to describe how unions negotiate on behalf of their membership. It is one of the primary functions of a union. • Part of a union’s power is the ability to call a strike, by which their members refuse to work until demands are met. However, strikes are generally considered a last resort. • Union workers generally enjoy higher wages than nonunion workers. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported in 2013 that private industry union workers averaged $18.36/hour while nonunion private industry workers averaged $14.81/hour. • Even though most unions have a national and even international organizational structure, a member’s primary interaction is with their local, which is a group concentrated on a specific city, state or region. Source: Investopedia (June 2019) UNION MEMBERSHIP • After decades of declining numbers, union membership has leveled in many sectors and in some industries has lately posted strong gains. • Nationally, 11 percent of workers in the public and private sectors belong to a union, according to 2018 statistics. The strongest growth in numbers came in education services while manufacturing, entertainment and waste services also added headcount. • Workers in the public sector, such as government, have a much higher rate of union participation (37 percent) than private sector industries. • Union membership density was stable or grew in a number of Southern states in 2017—namely Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana and Virginia. Texas saw particularly strong growth. Sources: MoneyWatch (January 2019); Economic Policy Institute (January 2018) UNIONS: WHO’S JOINING? • Unions used to be predominantly comprised of older men, but the latest statistics show that picture has changed dramatically. • In 2017, membership was roughly equivalent among men (11.4 percent) and women (10 percent). Compare that to 1979 when men were more than twice as likely as women to be union members and made up 69 percent of all union membership. • Even more significant is the growth of younger union workers. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported total union membership grew by 262,000 in 2017. Of these, 76 percent were age 34 and under. And, of the 858,000 net new jobs created in 2017 for workers under age 35, just under one in four was a union job. • Public opinion may also help explain the membership increases among younger workers and women. In 2017, 62 percent of Americans reported approval of labor unions, the highest mark in 14 years. Sources: Economic Policy Institute (January 2018); Gallup (August 2018)



CLINT SHERMAN EDUCATION: International Union of Painters & Allied Trades SNAPSHOT: Sherman started in construction before deciding to join the painter’s union and learn a trade. Now he’s got a stable income that helps feed his family and zero student loan debt to worry about. WHAT IS THE ADVANTAGE OF JOINING A UNION AND GOING THROUGH THEIR APPRENTICESHIP PROGRAM? Coming up in the union, it’s a brotherhood. There’s all these other people there who have done the same thing as me. They’re people who will influence and to teach you how to do the work. I’ve had probably 10 people mentor me and I’ve learned something from every person. We all do things differently and we’ve all got to figure stuff out on our own. It was helpful to have all those different opinions and ways to do it to help me figure out my own. WHAT APPEALED TO YOU ABOUT PAINTING COMPARED TO THE OTHER SKILLED CAREERS? To be totally honest, at first it was about a more stable and steady job. I was framing houses and I was outside and the weather, I was at its mercy. The company that I started working for and still work for to this day, I knew the owner and I asked him if he’d be willing to hire me. Once I got the job, I realized this is a bigger opportunity for me, and I ended up falling in love with painting. I realized this is something I can really strive at and be good at it. AND IT PAYS WELL? It’s decent. I’m 25 years old and I make just as much as my father does in what he does. I’ve been able to buy my wife a brand new vehicle, have a brand new house built and we have a nice truck. I don’t have any student loans, either. WHAT’S THE BEST PART OF YOUR JOB? Being able to have a product that you come up with to do with your hands and something that you produce.

CENTRAL ARKANSAS BUILDING & CONSTRUCTION TRADES COUNCIL Laborers International Union Local 10 4501 W. 61st St. Little Rock, AR 72209 501-562-5953 Jeramy McCoy, Business Manager (W) 479-641-0772 (M) 479-307-1701 asbwkrs10@aol.com liuna.org/about International Brotherhood of Boilermakers Union Local 69 4515 W. 61st St. Little Rock, AR 72209 Rodney Allison, Business Manager (P) 501-565-0059 (F) 501-556-0112 bmlocal69@sbcglobal.net boilermakers.org Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers Union Local 5 OK/AR 212 NE 27th St. Oklahoma City, OK 73105 Ed Navarro, President (P) 800-579-9555 (F) 405-528-0165 ed@baclocal5.com baclocal5.com Carpenters Union Local 690 3920 Wall St. Little Rock, AR 72209 William White (P) 501-568-2500 (F) 501-568-2522 carpenters690@prodigy.net ubclocal690.com Carpenters Union Local 1836 1407 S. Knoxville Russellville, AR 72801 (P) 479-968-1724 (F) 479-967-5878 Dewayne Young, Business Representative Jeremy Hughes, Business Representative dwyoung2002@yahoo.com Jhughes@cscouncil.net centralS.carpenters.org International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 295 7320 S. University Ave. Little Rock, AR 72209 Will French, Business Manager (W) 501-562-2244 (M) 501-291-9949 Ibew295.org

International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 1516 P.O. Box 577 Jonesboro, AR 72403 Kirk Douglas (P) 870-932-2114 (F) 870-932-6707 ibewlu1516@sbcglobal.net Elevator Constructors Union Local 79 P.O. Box 2081 Little Rock, AR 72203 Mike Campbell, Business Manager (P) 501-944-6970 (F) 501-372-2172 iuec-local79@sbcglobal.net Iron Workers Union Local 321 1315 W. 2nd St. Little Rock, AR 72201 Johnny Wilson, Business Manager (P) 501-374-3705 (M) 501-730-2607 Laborers Union Local 360 Tanif Crotts, Business Manager (M) 479-459-6287 tanif107@swbell.net International Union Operating Engineers Local 382 4501 W. 61st St. Little Rock, AR 72209 Heath Hensley, Business Agent (P) 501-663-6388 (F) 501-663-6389 heath.iuoe624@yahoo.com International Union of Painters & Allied Trades District Council 80/Local 424 10112 Chicot Road, Suite 218 Little Rock, AR 72209 Lindsay Brown, Business Representative (P) 501-353-2957 (F) 501-565-8310 brown.lindsaydbc80@att.net www.iupatdc80.org

Plumbers & Pipefitters Union Local 55 1223 W. Markham Little Rock, AR 72201 Ricky Jeu, Business Manager (P) 501-374-4943 (M) 501-529-3131 SMART Sheet Metal Union Local 36 415 W. 12th St. Little Rock, AR 72202 Danny Graves, Business Manager (P) 501-372-5150 (M) 501-326-4777 smw361@sbcglobaI.net www.smart-local.org/smart-sheet-metal-local-36 UA Local 669 Sprinkler Fitters P.O. Box 400 Abita Springs, LA 70420 Tony Cacioppo, Business Representative (P) 985-809-9788 (F) 985-809-7802 cacioppo.669@att.net sprinklerfitters669.org United Union of Roofers, Waterproofers & Allied Workers Local 20 6301 Rockhill Road, No. 420 Kansas City, MO 64131 Jim Hadel, Business Representative (P) 816-313-9420 (F) 816-313-9424 rooferslocal20.com UBC Millwrights Local 216 1407 Knoxville Ave. Russellville, AR 72802 Matthew Nowling, Business Representative (P) 479-967-0639

Plasterers & Cement Masons Union Local #908 815 Enterprise Cape Girardeau, MO 63701 Guy “Tom� Schwab, Business Manager (P) 573-334-2729 (F) 573-334-5451 op908@clas.net

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A New Start: Goodwill Industries provides helping hand to thousands. BY DWAIN HEBDA


alking through Goodwill Industries’ massive south Little Rock headquarters, it’s impossible not to be impressed. Everywhere you look are shiny classrooms, resource officers consulting with clients and people learning how to shake the bonds that once held them back. Oversized photos of success stories hang on the wall, people who came here with little hope and, with hard work and a little guidance, learned a skill to land a job and provide for their families. “At the core, our mission is changing lives through education, training and employment. That’s with whoever walks through out door,” said Tenille Hunter, director of mission services. “We try to serve whoever, no matter what their barrier is, if they’re returning from previous incarceration, never worked before due to a disability, displaced workers, someone who is recently unemployed, someone who needs their high school diploma or some type of vocational credential. We try to fill all those gaps.” Hunter, like many staffers around here, has seen hundreds of people walk through the doors, and while not every one of them ends up as hoped, she’s got plenty of success stories to her credit. And she’s not alone. According to its just-off-the-press 2019 Annual Report, Goodwill Industries helped nearly 7,600 individuals get a job last year. The organization operates 25 career centers, which are central to their job training programs. “The career centers are based in our stores where anyone can walk in and that’s their starting point,” Hunter said. “If you walk in and you know you need a job, they can either refer you to additional services, provide you services on the spot, or it will be the starting point to get you enrolled in some other type of programming that will be more intensive to help you guide your way down that path to increased independence



and more self-sufficiency.” Goodwill partners with local businesses and industry to ensure training programs match the hiring needs of the community. And those programs are often adapted to allow people with disabilities to learn a skill or leverage other resources to reach people in difficult circumstances. “We have really good relationships across the state with employers big and small,” Hunter said. “Through those relationships, we’re able to identify areas of opportunity that we can address through our programming. For example, with our re-entry program we’re able to provide some services before they’re released [from prison] and provide some of those post-release services. Get them in here, provide the case management and get them from surviving to thriving. “With our disabilities programs, each individual has their individual set of circumstances. We have an awesome team who works with individuals and they provide all of those intricate, fine tunings that a person may need in order for them to get to the next step.” Almost everything Goodwill provides in educational services or job training is free of charge. Hunter said the future lies in continued partnerships with companies to help bridge the last few feet between job training and job attainment. “There’s always areas of opportunity with that,” she said. “We can never be satisfied or rest on our laurels as it pertains to the companies we’ve reached out to because there are a lot of noncorporation-type companies that are out there that could really utilize our services and that we can definitely utilize their expertise in subject matter. “We’ll never be satisfied. We’ll always continue to grow and look at how we can further partner with individuals out in the community.”

GOODWILL JOB TRAINING AND EVENTS Goodwill Industries of Arkansas provides a range of job training and placement services to help individuals gain dignified, meaningful employment. These programs result in thousands of individuals getting a fresh start toward self-sufficiency. GOODWILL CAREER CENTERS Goodwill’s Career Centers offer free services such as career guidance, interview preparation, resume assistance and job search help available at 25 career centers across the state. FREE ONLINE COURSES Goodwill offers free online courses in key skills, including technology, English, basic math and computer skills, among others. In all, more than 1,000 lessons, videos and interactive activities are available via its website and YouTube Channel. HIRING EVENTS Goodwill hosts hiring events across the state to connect talented employees with employers. THE ACADEMY AT GOODWILL The Academy at Goodwill, licensed by the Arkansas State Board of Private Career Education, helps adult learners receive the training they need to secure new employment and advance their career. Participants earn certificates in high-demand jobs such as welding, forklift certification, CPR, first-aid and environmental services. The school’s hands-on training is delivered alongside soft skills and life lessons that help students go to work fully prepared for long-term success. For more information, contact The Academy at Goodwill at: Phone: 501-372- 5100 Toll-free: 877-372- 5151 Email: academy@goodwillar.org TRANSITIONAL EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITY (TEO) Goodwill is committed to providing services to individuals who are re-entering the workforce and community after a period of incarceration. The 16-week TEO job training program provides temporary employment at Goodwill to gain marketable skills attractive to employers. Goodwill’s Career Centers also assist in overcoming background barriers to employment. For more information or to apply for the TEO program, contact: Central Arkansas 501-372-5100 Northwest Arkansas 501-295-8179 Northeast Arkansas 870-268-0443 Fort Smith 501-517-7765 DISABILITY EMPLOYMENT Goodwill offers education, training and employment to persons with disabilities. Job Training Programs allow individuals to engage in work experience on a short-term basis. These vocational and career training allow clients to identify strengths, learn new skills and prepare for the workforce.

JAYME HAYES Since 2017, Jayme has been a case manager for Goodwill’s Transitional Employment Opportunities (TEO) helping the formerly incarcerated transition into the outside. It’s a role she’s uniquely suited for, considering she was once one of those people, looking to reintegrate into society. “Every part of the program benefitted me,” she said. “With the type of people that I serve and for myself as well, a lot of it was just feeling respected and feeling that atmosphere of people you can trust and knowing that people want to help you so you can be successful and for no other reason than that.” Hayes said one of the most impactful parts of the program is how it rewires former inmates to make positive choices in their job and in their life. “For people who have been incarcerated for a long time, they may think they’re ready to jump into a job, but they’re so used to being told when to get up, when to go to work,” she said. They need a stepping stone from being totally institutionalized back to being in society. That’s where our program comes in. “I’ll forever be in debt to Goodwill for the things they changed in me. Understanding that things carry over into your work that are going on at home, and they affect your work, that was the biggest thing to me.”

LARRY SCOTT A native of California, Larry came through Goodwill’s Dreams program, catering to the deaf. It’s just part of the organization’s disability programming designed to help individuals gain selfsufficiency. Larry works in a retail store in Benton and has for almost a year. He said the most helpful thing about the program was that they paired him with someone who could sign while he was learning. He said his job has given him a sense of independence and pride. “My goal is being a keyholder, but I have to practice before I get there,” he said. “I do everything in the store. I’m a cashier, work in linens and electronics. It’s fun to work with people. Working with them, it’s like a family.”

BLUEPRINT | 2019 | arktimes.com 25

Shattering stereotypes The new skilled workplace is safer, cleaner BY DWAIN HEBDA


ne of the toughest misconceptions to get over when it comes to skilled careers is the environment in which a person works. Factories and construction sites have a reputation for being uncomfortable, dirty and often dangerous. And while there’s no denying that in many skilled careers employees still brave the elements, much has changed in the modern workplace with climate-controlled building systems that improve air quality and a thick stack of safety protocols to keep workers safe. Here’s a look at how some progressive companies in Arkansas are changing the face of modern bluecollar companies. CLEAN AND GREEN MANUFACTURING: SAU TECH, CAMDEN Time was when working in a factory or on a job site was a dirty, unpleasant environment. And while those places still exist, things are changing fast, Dr. Jason Morrison, chancellor of Southern Arkansas University Tech in Camden, said. “People remember the pictures from history class where you come out of an industry all covered in soot and you’re just filthy,” he said. “That’s just not today’s advanced aerospace programs at all. It’s a pristine environment. Everything is very well-organized.” Morrison said the emergence of robotics and advanced manufacturing automation have greatly improved the work environment. In Camden, where



the aerospace and defense industry is booming, workspaces look closer to clean rooms, even in testing areas for military explosives. “When you tour these places it’s almost like watching a physician in the operating room or the dentist office work on a patient, the way they’re working on a rocket motor,” he said. “It’s such a clean environment it really makes you think that you’re in a clinic or physician’s office. “It’s not that of the industrial age; it’s very advanced technology, but not so far advanced that a nontraditional student can’t be retrained. It’s a lot of computerized, hands-on programming, understanding and thought process, making sure the mechanisms you’re working with are working correctly.” Morrison said it’s not the workspaces that have the problem, it’s the messaging that’s getting out to the public about what today’s manufacturing spaces are really like. He said fighting such stereotypes is one of the biggest challenges to attracting a new generation of skilled labor. “We’ve just got to do a better job from the institution, to the high schools, to the community, to the local and state officials, of really spreading the word of what this post-modern economy looks like,” he said. “There’s a population of students who love to work with their hands and they really thrive upon these industries. We don’t have a problem selling our message to those students. But there is a lack of sophis-

tication out there about what the world of advanced aerospace manufacturing really looks like.” TREATING THE WHOLE PERSON: NABHOLZ CONSTRUCTION Construction is another skilled profession that’s suffered an image problem over the years, something central Arkansas-based Nabholz Construction has rewritten with a number of forward-thinking company perks. The firm features a robust benefits package, helps employees chart their career path, and its wellness program has been repeatedly recognized as groundbreaking. “When I came in 13 years ago, wellness programs weren’t new. A lot of companies hired an outside vendor, a third party, to come in and administer their program,” said Jayme Mayo, wellness director. “What was unique was when we moved away from a third party and we did it in-house. It was also unique that I didn’t report to HR; I report to the CEO and I have my own team.” Nabholz’s program hands out incentives to employees who reach certain health benchmarks. The performance-based system puts the responsibility on employees to lose weight, manage diabetes or quit smoking rather than hand out awards just for showing up. And that’s just the beginning. “We have an on-site medical clinic where I see patients as a physician’s assistant. We have a part-

“We pride ourselves on being a premier service company and we want our technicians to be premier technicians. This program has helped us do just that.” — PAUL LOWELL, RP POWER “How do you put a price tag on the heart attack that didn’t happen? Or the stroke that didn’t happen? The cancer we caught in stage I, not stage IV?” — JAYME MAYO, NABHOLZ CONSTRUCTION

time physician here as well. I have a medical assistant and I have two personal trainers and nutritionists. All are free for our people,” Mayo said. “We also have what are called near-site clinics. They’re stand-alone primary care facilities that our people have access to same day or next day. No co-pay and no deductible; it’s literally a free visit for anybody on the health insurance. There are 10 locations for those.” The upshot of these efforts is a healthier workforce, which cuts down on insurance claims and lost productivity. Mayo envisions expanded mental health services as the future of the company wellness program (it already offers limited counseling services). She said she takes a great deal of pride in playing a role in keeping employees healthy. “The outcomes are improving, and then you start seeing the dollars shift. We’re now spending more on preventative and we’re catching things early on,” she said. “How do you put a price tag on the heart attack that didn’t happen? Or the stroke that didn’t happen? The cancer we caught in stage I, not stage IV? It’s really become a benefit we use to help recruit and retain the great employees that we have.”

tinue to make and how they can advance themselves.” RP takes this process so seriously, it doesn’t even wait for the employee to complete a probationary period, but applies this planning from the get-go. “We don’t hesitate, nor do we pause,” Lowell said. “The employee needs to know from day one that they count, that their contribution is appreciated by the company and we want them to have that plan.” To help workers reach their goals, the company conducts internal training as well as paid OEM manufacturer’s training. There’s even Dale Carnegie courses to improve communications skills. Leadership reviews employees’ progress regularly and has an innovative compensation structure tied to the advancement plan. “They have the ability to increase their salary by working through our Service Technician Enhancement Program,” Lowell said. “Employees love that because it’s not limited to an annual increase. They don’t have to wait until Dec. 31 or whatever where you typically go a year and you get a raise.” “They are capable of increasing their salary at any point throughout the year by completing training, by exhibiting that they can utilize the training they’ve been given efficiently and by bringing new and innoPLANNING FOR THE FUTURE: RP vative solutions to the table for the team.” POWER Lowell, who has been with the company Anyone who has taken a new job knows for 15 years, said the effect of the program the stacks of onboarding items you have has been remarkable compared to other to complete on day one. RP Power adds to places he’s worked. that by sitting down with each new service “I can truly call this my home and I say team member to plan their future with the that with all sincerity,” he said. “Most of company, Paul Lowell, east division service my employees, once they’re hired on, do manager, said. not leave. The larger portion of my service “We have a career path program that is technicians have a tenure with us of six laid out to all of our service technicians,” years or greater.” he said. “It shows them the exact ladder “We pride ourselves on being a premier and allows them to make the choices on service company and we want our techniwhere they want to go with their career and cians to be premier technicians. This proallows them to see exactly where they’re gram has helped us do just that.” going, how much money they can con-

DYLAN SMITH AGE: 20 EDUCATION: National Park College SNAPSHOT: Growing up in Tuckerman in a trades family, Smith saw firsthand the opportunities that existed for those who work with their hands. He’s now training to be a welder. WHAT ARE YOUR CAREER GOALS? I’d like to get out and get a good paying job in welding. I’d like to do some construction work on bridges. That would be cool. WHY DID YOU CHOOSE THE COLLEGE THAT YOU DID? The teachers and the program that they provide were really outstanding. We probably spend about 15-30 minutes throughout the whole day talking about stuff, whether we have questions or not. About once a week we sit down and have a test. But the majority of the day you’re out in the shop welding. DID YOU DO ANYTHING IN HIGH SCHOOL THAT’S PROVED PARTICULARLY HELPFUL IN COLLEGE? Ag class. I would go out in the shop every day, whether I’d be welding or just working on something or building something. WHAT MADE YOU WANT TO PURSUE THE CAREER YOU DID? My dad works in a steel mill at Newport, Arkansas. He’s always trying to push that hard-working attitude towards me. I do not like to just sit in classrooms. I like the hands-on work. I told him that I wanted to go to U of A and he kind of gave me some options about industrial maintenance and welding. I liked the opportunity. It cost a little bit less and I would be out in the field doing something with my hands. WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU SHARE WITH SOMEONE CONSIDERING THIS FIELD? It’s a good field because welders will always be needed. If you’re really a perfectionist and really want to do right, you might start out at $15 an hour, but you will get bumped up and will get paid well if your personal quality control is there. There are jobs everywhere if you want to stay in town or if you want to get out and travel. This is something you can do for a lifetime or you can do it as a side job.

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A SOLID FOUNDATION ACEF provides robust training programs across multiple skilled jobs.


he Arkansas Construction Education Foundation, headquartered in Little Rock, is an organization dedicated to providing apprenticeship training in several high-demand skilled careers. ACEF is registered with the Bureau of Apprenticeship and Training of the U.S. Department of Labor. “All-around craft professionals are created through our 2- to 4-year apprenticeship programs,” Kathy Fulks, ACEF executive director said. “Each apprentice program utilizes the NCCER curriculum, which contains both knowledge-based exams and a hands-on performance evaluation. This approach provides the student the opportunity to apply everything he or she has learned in both the classroom setting and on the job. “Statistics show that program graduates earn higher wages, have more stable work records and are promoted sooner and more often than workers who have not been trained through apprenticeship programs.”



Apprentice training is a structured educational system designed to prepare individuals for occupations in skilled trades and crafts. It combines on-the-job training under the supervision of experienced journey workers with related classroom instruction and in most cases it’s all paid for by the worker’s employer. Apprentices work a regular 40-hour week and earn while they learn, with pay increases at regular intervals as their job skills increase. Following this training, and any required licensing exams, apprentices become journeymen in their chosen craft and receive full pay for their skills. “As an apprentice, you are required to seek employment prior to enrolling in school,” Fulks said. “Prior experience is not required, but you must be willing to learn. Employers will train you on the job while you attend school at ACEF one night a week.”

ACEF licensed apprenticeship programs include: ACEF non-licensed apprenticeship programs ELECTRICAL PROGRAM include: • Installation, commissioning, testing and main- HVAC (HEATING, VENTILATION & AC) tenance of various wiring systems in residential, • Two-year program focusing on design, implecommercial and industrial settings mentation and maintenance of heating and • Four-year program (640 hours classroom cooling systems and ventilation instruction and 8,000 hours on-the-job training • May enroll as apprentice (employer required) • Attend class one night a week at ACEF and or craft professional (no employer required). work full time with an electrical employer • Upon course completion, students receive cer• Upon course completion, students sit for jourtification (no licensure) neyman electrician’s exam (licensing) EST (ELECTRONIC SYSTEMS TECHNICIAN) PLUMBING PROGRAM • Install, update and repair a variety of equip• Install water, disposal, waste, and gas systems ment, machinery and systems that have comand maintenance and repair of these systems plex electrical components • Four-year program (640 hours classroom instruction and 8,000 hours on-the-job training) SPRINKLER FITTING PROGRAM • Attend class one night a week at ACEF and • Install, test, inspect and certify automatic fire work full time with a plumbing company suppression systems in all types of structures, • Upon course completion, students sit for jourincluding underground supply, overhead pipneyman plumber’s exam (licensing) ing system or standpipes • Both EST and sprinkler education are in-house programs employers can sponsor for their employees. Contact ACEF for more details on program options.

ACEF LOCATIONS Little Rock ACEF Education Center­— Main Campus 4421 W. 61st St. Little Rock, AR 72209

Mayflower Mayflower High School 10 Lesley King Drive Mayflower, AR 72106

Berryville Carroll County Career Center (Industrial Electrical Course) 1002 S. Main St. Berryville, AR 72616

Morrilton U of A Community College at Morrilton Business and Technology Building 1500 University Blvd. Morrilton, AR 72110

Forrest City East Arkansas Community College Tech Building 1 and Classroom Building 1 1700 Newcastle Road Forrest City, AR 72396

Siloam Springs Career Academy of Siloam Springs (CASS) Industrial Arts Building 700 N. Progress Siloam Springs, AR 72401

Fort Smith Fort Smith Adult Education Center 501 S. 20th St. Fort Smith, AR 72901 Jacksonville Titan’s Alternate Learning Center (ALC) 700 John Harden Drive Jacksonville, AR 72076 Jonesboro ACEF - Jonesboro 648 W. Johnson Ave. Jonesboro, AR 72401

Springdale Har Ber High School 300 Jones Road Springdale, AR 72762 For more information, contact: ACEF, myacef.org

JASON NEELEY AGE: 27 EDUCATION: Dardanelle High School, Millwright Local Union 216 JOB: Millwright/Rigger, Atlantic Plant Maintenance SNAPSHOT: After losing his maintenance job when his employer went out of business, Neeley joined the UBC Millwrights Local 216 for job security and benefits. Today, the Dardanelle native works on multi-million-dollar manufacturing equipment other people depend on to do their jobs. WERE YOU ALWAYS MECHANICALLY INCLINED? I’ve been messing with cars my entire life. My stepdad had a ‘69 Camaro and we were always outside tinkering with it. He had a couple C10 trucks and we always were doing something to the engine, suspension work, anything like that. His friends would come over and they’d all sit around, drink a beer, work on the truck. I’d be right there. I had a childhood friend who lived right up the road from me. When he got into high school he went to this vocational center we have behind Russellville High School. He was a welder, he went for metal fabrication, and he would tell me about it. I was probably 13 or 14 at this time. I was like, when I go to high school I’m going to go do that same thing. WHAT WAS YOUR UNION APPRENTICESHIP LIKE? I actually completed it in less than four years. We have to have so many hours and so many class hours and so many work hours. I was fortunate enough to combine both at the same time. I went to class every chance I got. I was able to accelerate. WHAT DOES YOUR JOB ENTAIL? I’m an official rigger, so I get to do all the big lifts, the 90,000 pound lifts or the 110,000s. I do a lot of that, like, if we’re going to inspect a turbine. A lot of turbine work is what I like to do. I was in a car plant for nine months last year and I had a blast doing that. WHAT ARE THE ADVANTAGES OF BEING IN A UNION? Benefits, that’s the big thing. We get paid an hourly rate but we also get paid an hourly rate towards your pension, 401K, your health and wellness. If I had known about the union when I turned 18, that’s what I would have done as soon as I got out of school.

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TRIPLE THREAT ANC provides three tiers of skilled career training and continuing education. LEN ANDERSEN Age: 55 Job: Automation technician Company: Alliance Rubber, Hot Springs Snapshot: Originally from the Pacific Northwest where he learned factory work from the ground up, Andersen has reinvented himself with new skills and now plays a critical role in an Arkansas manufacturing company. WHERE DID YOU GET YOUR START IN MANUFACTURING? I’m from Lebanon, Oregon. I started out in the 1980s in a plywood mill sweeping floors. I worked my way up to a dryer tender where I was the lead guy over all the dryers that would dry the veneer. All I had for education then was just my high school diploma. By the ‘90s they had shut the plant down and that led me back to college. I did a year at a community college and took their automotive technology class. Then I went into industrial painting for a while. After that, I was offered a job here in Arkansas. SINCE COMING TO ARKANSAS, HAVE YOU DONE ANY OTHER CONTINUING EDUCATION? I have. Since I’ve come here to Alliance, they’ve sent me back to [National Park College] over here and I’ve taken up some classes to operate some CNC machinery equipment and I’ve done a CAD class which helps with what I’m doing here for Alliance. WHAT DOES YOUR WORKDAY INCLUDE? I help design and build equipment. I run the milling machines, lathes. I do CAD work. I do a little bit of everything on these machines that we’re building. WHAT WOULD SOMEONE LOOKING TO GET INTO THIS CAREER NEED FOR THIS JOB? You have to be strong in math. You need to be strong in your computer skills so you can master the variations of different CAD drawing programs. And you have to be a creative thinker. You have to think outside of the box. That is important in what I’m doing, problem solving and looking at more than one way. Be open for suggestions, too. WHAT ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR SOMEONE STUCK IN A POOR-PAYING JOB LOOKING TO MAKE A CAREER CHANGE? I think nowadays, people don’t want to put the time in to do this. They want it just right now. If you want to better yourself you’re going to have to bite the bullet, put the time in. 30



rkansas Northeastern College had evolved into one of Arkansas’s leading centers for career development and training in skilled fields, thanks to a unique three-tiered training structure. Included in this program are the nationally recognized The Solutions Group (TSG), the Allied Technologies Division housing post-secondary technical programs and the ANC Tech Center for local high schools. These three elements combine to provide leading-edge education at every phase of a worker’s professional life. ANC Technical Center has an annual average enrollment of 205 students from eight local high schools. All students have the opportunity to take approved Technical Center classes for college credit at no cost to the students. Students in aviation technology, construction, medical professions and welding can all graduate with a college credential while in high school Stacy Walker, ANC director of industrial training, said the center fills a critical need for local high school students wanting to get a jump on their careers. “Technical programs are generally the most expensive, therefore most high schools cannot provide a full range of offerings for their students,” she said. “The ANC Tech Center allows them to bus their students to the Center for Allied Technologies where they can choose from several programs and also earn college credit if they so choose.” Allied Technologies is the post-secondary division offering college students certificates and/ or degrees in a variety of trades, including air conditioning and refrigeration, computer information systems, steel industry technology and advanced manufacturing. “This division makes up about one-third of the student population at Arkansas Northeastern College,” Walker said. “College degrees range from one semester Certificates of Proficiency, to one-year technical certificates and two-year associate degrees. These programs are designed to prepare the students for work immediately upon completion.” TSG is the training arm of the college, comprised of highly trained specialists in a variety of fields who work closely with employers to tailor training to meet specific needs. Training solutions range from one-hour refreshers to multiyear projects and are customized to each company’s needs. “There is no cookie-cutter approach to TSG

training,” Walker said. “Each client is highly involved in the process. TSG instruction is paid for by the hour, not by headcount, which is a unique approach allowing businesses to determine the most cost-effective utilization of the training.” In addition, the school offers a number of unexpected extras such as stressing soft skills and promoting internships. These experiences help round graduates into valued workers who can commend top dollar in the marketplace. “Workplace readiness skills have been incorporated into all of ANC’s Allied Technologies’ technical certificates and associate’s degree programs,” Walker said. “Workplace essentials offers the students the ability to create a resume, practice interviewing techniques, public speaking, teamwork, teambuilding and workplace ethics. These soft skills are also embedded in every course that we teach.”


Looking to invest your educational dollar wisely? Arkansas Northeastern College provides one of the best returns on investment dollars in the state. Low tuition and an accelerated curriculum, some of which may be completed online, allow graduates to gain training and experience in two years or less at a reasonable cost and command handsome salaries after graduation.


Mississippi County Resident tuition (includes students and graduates of Buffalo Island Central High School) — $70/credit hour Out-of-County (includes the Missouri counties of Dunklin, Pemiscot and New Madrid) — $80/ credit hour Out-of-State and International — $130/credit hour


HVAC — $50,190 average annual wages Construction Technology — $57,836 average annual wages Welding — $60,802 average annual wages Industrial Electrical — $84,353 average annual wages Steel Industry Technologies — $93,218 average annual wages

C O N S T R U C T I O N | I N D U S T R I A L | C I V I L | E N V I R O N M E N TA L | S P E C I A LT Y

BRANDON SETTLEMIRE AGE 34 EDUCATION: Ozarks Technical Community College, Springfield, Mo. SNAPSHOT: Settlemire joined Caterpillar in 2011, where he’s worked as a welder before making a change to a machinist. DID SOMEONE IN YOUR FAMILY INSPIRE YOU TO GO INTO THIS FIELD? No one in my family inspired me to go into the welding field. I just knew I wanted a career that was hands-on. We had a regional trade school at our high school, which made welding very accessible to me. I did that during my junior and senior year in high school; I really enjoyed being hands-on and seeing the work that you can do.


MORE THAN BUILDINGS, WE BUILD CAREERS Apply now at nabholz.com/careers 1 . 8 7 7. N A B H O L Z | w w w. n a b h o l z . c o m

WHAT WAS YOUR EDUCATION FOR THIS FIELD? I attended a two-year technical school for auto body and collision repair; I received a lot of welding and painting experience there. WHAT DOES YOUR TYPICAL DAY LOOK LIKE? We start up all the machines to make sure they are running properly. We get everything ready for the daily build and make sure the employees have all the parts they need to meet Caterpillar NLR’s daily build goals. Throughout the day, if something doesn’t go as planned, we assist with any problems or issues that come up, and we repair any equipment that needs it. WHAT’S A MAIN SELLING POINT OF YOUR JOB? Unlike some jobs where you don’t see the end result, or the final product, I get to see the changes I make instantaneously. I may get a part that’s rough cut, and I machine it down to certain specifications. Every day there is something new. At Caterpillar NLR, we strive for zero defects. That means we need our equipment to function properly. I am proud to be able to get equipment up and running as soon as possible if it needs to be repaired, so that we can continue to build the best machines in the industry. WHAT ARE THE CAREER OPPORTUNITIES LIKE FOR A MACHINIST? The possibilities are endless. You can get into the programming side of it, or the maintenance side. There is no limit to what you can learn as a machinist.


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WONDER WOMEN Women continue to take their place in skilled careers.




here may still be a long way to go, but women in skilled positions are steadily increasing in numbers. According to Skilled Careers Now, just under 9 percent of skilled workers nationwide are women. But the chronic shortage of people in the trades, as well as changing attitudes about gender roles in the workplace, are attracting more and more women to don a hard hat or welding mask. The following women are the latest pioneers in their fields in Arkansas.

BETH MARIS, 48 Project Manager Nabholz Construction, Conway How did your career come together? I was born and raised in Harrison, Arkansas. Went to college at the University of Kansas in Lawrence where I started out in architecture. I figured out about halfway through that I didn’t much like the design part, I liked how buildings went together. So, I switched to architectural engineering with an emphasis in construction management. Graduated and moved back to Little Rock and have been here since ’96. This is actually my third time with Nabholz. The first time was the summer right before my last year of college. I was a laborer out on a job site out in Harrison building a new Walmart Supercenter. I pushed a shovel around all summer. What attracted you to this field? My dad was a physician, but we lived out on a farm and I loved hanging out with him doing little projects and being more hands-on. 32


What are your job responsibilities? How have your previous roles informed and shaped you to do your current job? As project manager, I act as a go-between between the architect and owner and all of the subcontractors that help us provide a finished building. We write contracts, estimate a project, hire the contractors, get materials onsite. Internally, I work hand-in-hand with the superintendent who runs the day-to-day operations on the job site. My time as a laborer was so valuable in that I was out there on the job, hands-on. I now see how everything I’m doing in the office comes together in the field to produce the end product. If you sat across the table from some high-schoolers, what advice would you give them about being a woman in a skilled career like this? There are so many opportunities now; if I could express anything to young women, it’s become more self-aware. Learn how to communicate with people and go after what you’re interested in by finding someone that’s already doing it and shadowing them.

LESLIE SLIFE, 26 Industrial Technology Student National Park College, Hot Springs Can you put industrial tech into layman’s terms? Why did you choose this field? It’s more along the lines of troubleshooting, repairing, building and designing industrial equipment. I was originally looking into the welding certificate, but in speaking with my adviser, she pointed me in the direction of industrial tech, which ended up being a much better fit. It’s not just specifically welding, although I’ll have that next semester. We also get into electronics, PLCs, fluid power, pneumatics, all that. What’s the job market like? The job market is great. A lot of the students that are in the program are currently employed by a lot of companies here in town. They hear that you’re in the program and they’re champing at the bit to get their hands on you by the time you’re done.

MARIE LINDEN-COX AGE: 24 EDUCATION: National Park College, Hot Springs SNAPSHOT: A native of Germany, Linden-Cox is completing National Park College’s radiology program, learning to operate X-ray technology. WHITNEY FLOYD Are there any particular skills that are helpful coming into this? You definitely have to have math skills. Those will develop as you go through the program. I was not very strong in math to begin with, but I’ve been passing everything with flying colors. What advice would you have for someone looking at this job? Figure out where your niches are. I’m really good at working with mechanical devices and systems. I’m also taking a blueprint reading class, which has been very helpful. What has been the most impactful part of your experience thus far? I’m working on a project with a fellow student outside of school building and designing a set of prosthetic arms for him to be able to weld with. The array of classes that I’m in right now have really helped me to get where we’re going with that because we’re having to pretty much design everything. WHITNEY FLOYD, 31 Biomedical Engineering Technical III Arkansas Children’s NorthW., Rogers You started your college coursework at North Arkansas College while still in high school. Why? Mainly my motivation was cost savings. I started going there my junior year, half days. It was a free college education to go there. Why did you choose the field you did? I always liked math and troubleshooting, so I wanted to do something in the electronic field. Besides, there’s no more secure job than being in a hospital, really.

HOW DID YOU DECIDE TO GO INTO THIS FIELD? When we moved to Arkansas, I started taking general courses at National Park and I started volunteering at The Caring Place, an Alzheimer’s place here in town. I started to get really interested in the medical field. I’ve always known that I’m not too interested in the nursing as far nurturing or the anatomy of the body. That’s why I picked radiologic technology, or we always say, rad tech. WHAT’S THE TRAINING LIKE? This is a two-year program but there is a year of prerequisites first, so it’s technically three years. Our program has a huge practical part of it. The first six weeks we spend in the classroom getting familiar with very basic concepts and basic training. Now, we have class three days a week, and we spend two days a week, every Tuesday and Thursday, at a clinical site. So almost half of our time right now is spent actively being a part of the process and really learning hands-on. WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO HIGH SCHOOLERS? One thing would be that a lot of people think that the medical field is just nursing, and while nursing is great, there are so many different specialties. National Park offers respiratory therapy, lab tech, emergency tech, all kinds of different programs. There’s a lot to choose from. ARE THERE ANY TRAITS OR SKILLS THAT ARE USEFUL IN YOUR CHOSEN SPECIALTY? One thing that you really have to bring into this profession is that you care about people and you want to help people no matter which health care profession program you choose. You have to be somewhat of an outgoing personality, or at least willing to learn to open up, because patients really enjoy the interaction and it makes them a lot more comfortable if you’re willing to talk to them.

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HOLLY METZ AGE: 25 EDUCATION: U.S. Navy, Arkansas Northeastern College JOB: Steel Tech, Zekelman Industries/Atlas Tube, Blytheville SNAPSHOT: After earning an electrical specialty in the Navy, Metz completed her steel tech degree in December 2019. She had a full-time job awaiting her upon graduation in the area’s thriving steel industry. WHY DID YOU DECIDE TO GO INTO A SKILLED CAREER? I didn’t have a whole lot of plans after high school. I went to the University of Missouri for one semester because that’s what everyone told me to do and it just wasn’t for me. I finally found some purpose to do something in the Navy, where I went to electrical school in nuclear power. I got hurt, so after my first pull I got out, but when I got that little bit of technical taste I came back to Arkansas and got a job at American Greetings as an electrician in training. Then I ended up at Arkansas Northeastern in their internship program and ended up in a steel mill. HAVE YOU FOUND ANY DIFFICULTIES BEING A WOMAN IN THIS CAREER FIELD? I think people are a little hesitant and don’t really know how to take you at first because it’s a shop environment. But as long as you come in and work hard and you do your work, it’s all fine. WHAT IS IT LIKE WORKING IN A MODERN STEEL MILL? WHAT DO YOU DO EVERY DAY? It’s still hot sometimes and we still do some manual labor here. I do some programming. I do a lot of work on programmable logic controllers on the computer. And we still do some good old wiring up motors and stuff like that. HOW DID YOUR INTERNSHIP TRANSLATE WHAT YOU WERE LEARNING IN CLASS? Working as an electrician, in general, translates really into any industrial setting. But once I came here with the internship it really translated a lot. A few of my instructors have been out here and been out to where the other interns work. Because a lot of them have been out where we’re working, they know what we’re facing. WHAT ARE YOUR CAREER GOALS? My goals are just to get better at programming and eventually one day I hope to be able to run my own maintenance department. That would be my No. 1 goal. 34


How well did college prepare you for the realities of the job? College gets you ready for general troubleshooting; during your internship you learn the specific regulations for that hospital. My associate’s in biomedical electronic technology was geared more towards industrial electronics, loaders, semiconductors, things like that. Then I learned most of everything that was hospital-related during my internship at Baxter Regional Medical Center in Mountain Home, and that’s mainly where you learn the ins and outs of the hospital and the equipment. Are there many women in your field? I did not have a lot of women in school with me; I actually didn’t work with another female technician until I started working for Arkansas Children’s and they had two in Little Rock, which was rare. I’m the only technician at this hospital. Definitely a female in the biomedical field is rare, but there are beginning to be more and more females in the electronics field. What advice would you have for a young person looking at this field? Be active in any kind of robotics. Volunteering at a hospital and job shadowing is also good because a lot of this field has to do with your connections, who you know. It helps to have your foot in the door with some of the technicians just so they know your name and they can refer you.

BETHANY BROOKS, 27 Fabricator Caterpillar, North Little Rock When did you first get interested in welding? I started out in college for radiology and decided that just wasn’t my career path. I got my associate’s degree in ASU Beebe and decided to go to UACCM in Morrilton and get my welding certificate. I’d always see my dad do it around the shop and kind of wanted to learn more about it and dig a little deeper in that field. I ended up loving the hands-on experience with it. What does your job entail? We’re building the frames for the medium loaders and the motor graders. I do the rear frame part of the wheel loader. Welding, especially for Caterpillar, is rewarding to see the finished product. You’re helping build this machine that will help do other jobs. The Caterpillar tractors help do roading and all kinds of different job opportunities. Are you seeing more women in your line of work? I think there’s two women welders here now. It was very intimidating at first because you feel like you have a lot to prove. But once you get in and prove yourself it’s really not any different than working with any group of women or men. You just find your spot and do your part. If you could sell someone on the merits of your job, what would you tell them? I feel that learning a trade is really important because a lot of people don’t do that anymore. They feel like you have to get that four-year degree to make money, and that’s not necessarily true. As a welder there’s so many job opportunities. You can travel. You can work near home. You can move up and be welder inspector. You can get your CWI and you can certify people to be welders.

After a bumpy few years that saw some operators scaling back their operations, agri-timber is back in a big way in Arkansas. Since 2015, investment is up, demand is running high, and the need for workers is nearly constant. For people with the right skills and a good work ethic, the agri-timber industry provides a solid career choice.

WHAT DOES AN AGRI-TIMBER WORKER DO? Agri-timber involves the management of forest resources, harvesting of trees in an environmentally responsible manner and processing the wood into a variety of products that consumers and other industries rely on every day. These final products range from lumber for the construction industry to paper products, to processed building products such as plywood and veneers. The types of careers available in this field include: Logging equipment operators • Use tree harvesters to fell trees, shear off limbs and cut trees into desired lengths. • Drive tractors and operate machines called skidders, or forwarders, which drag or push logs to a loading area. Log graders and scalers • Inspect logs for defects and measure the logs to determine their volume. • Estimate the value of logs or pulpwood. • Often use hand-held data collection devices to track forest and specimen data. Diesel Techs • Diesel engines power many industrial vehicles and machines. • Diesel engines are increasingly sophisticated, with on-board electronics and telematics. • Skilled diesel techs are required to keep such machines running at peak efficiency. Just like any other manufacturing facility, sawmills and paper/pulp mills are dependent on a variety of skilled professionals such as computer programmers/coders, electricians, plumbers and industrial maintence workers. WHAT’S NEW? Advanced manufacturing Sawmills and paper/pulp mills have a long-standing reputation for being hot, smelly and unpleasant places to work. However, many of today’s mills rely on advanced manufacturing techniques, which harness the power of technology and automation to process raw timber. This results in a cleaner, safer and more comfortable workplace, greater yield and efficiency, and more responsible handling of waste products.

WHERE DO AGRI-TIMBER PROFESSIONALS WORK? Generally speaking, logging crews spend their time outdoors in the woods, working in all types of weather. Factories and processing plants tend to be located within a reasonable distance of where the trees are harvested to help contain logistical costs. Arkansas’s timber processing plants are scattered throughout the state, with many of them clustered in the southW. corner, extending from Fort Smith diagonally to Arkansas City on the Mississippi River and to the Louisiana and Texas state lines.

WHAT DOES IT TAKE TO BE SUCCESSFUL? Communication skills • Must communicate with other crew members to perform work efficiently and safely. • Must be able to work as part of a team. Computer skills • Able to operate and adjust digitally controlled factory equipment or handheld devices. Detail oriented • Must watch gauges, dials and other indicators to determine if equipment and tools are working properly.

WHAT’S THE JOB OUTLOOK? There were 290 log graders and scalers in Arkansas in 2016 and that number is expected to hold steady by 2026. There were 1,740 logging equipment operators in Arkansas in 2016, and while that total is expected to shrink by 2026, the rate of that job loss will be much slower than the national industry average.

HOW DO I LEARN THE CRAFT? • A high school diploma is all that’s required for most logging jobs. • Most industry-specific training comes on the job. • Some community colleges offer associate’s degrees or certificates in forest technology. • A few community colleges offer education programs for logging equipment operators • Many state forestry or logging associations provide training sessions for logging equipment operators. • Training often takes place in the field, where trainees can practice various logging techniques and use particular equipment. • Logging companies and trade associations may also offer training programs for workers who operate large, expensive machinery and equipment. • Such programs often culminate in a state-recognized safety certificate from the logging company.

HOW MUCH CAN I MAKE? Logging Equipment Operators • Lower range wages (bottom 10 percent) — $24,020 annually/$11.55 per hour • Middle range wages (median) — $39,490 annually/$18.99 per hour • Higher range wages (top 10 percent) — $61,970 annually/$29.79 per hour Log Graders/Scalers • Lower range wages (bottom 10 percent) — $25,300 annually/$12.16 per hour • Middle range wages (median) — $38,020 annually/$18.28 per hour • Higher range wages (top 10 percent) — $50,600 annually/$24.33 per hour

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Did you ever notice how many people there are working in a hospital, clinic or even the office of your family doctor? The fact is it takes many trained people working together to deliver health care in the United States, and only a fraction of them have ever set foot inside a nursing or medical school. If you have an interest in the medical field, but don’t see yourself becoming a doctor or nurse, there’s a job waiting in the allied health field that’s got your name on it.

WHAT DOES AN ALLIED HEALTH PROFESSIONAL DO? Allied health is a broad category of careers within the health care field. The number, variety and range of these jobs is vast — some estimates say up to 60 percent of all jobs in the health care field are classified as allied health professions. Many of these positions do not require a fouryear degree, which allows people to start a career quickly. Allied health professionals are the support staff at the doctor or dentist’s right hand; they work in the pharmacy, the medical lab or the rehabilitation room, and they are the personnel trained to operate diagnostic medical equipment.

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patients, maintaining medical records, scheduling patient appointments, and handling patient billing. Education: Generally includes a certification or asso- • ciate’s degree than takes 1-2 years to complete. Growth: There were 3,160 medical assistant jobs • in Arkansas in 2016; jobs are expected to grow 31 percent by 2026. Pay: In Arkansas, the medical assistant pay range • is between $21,730 and $38,720.

Cardiovascular Technologists and Technicians help doctors diagnose and treat heart and vascular problems. • Typical job duties: Prepare patients for heart procedures such as balloon angioplasties, cardiac catheterWHY SUCH HIGH DEMAND? izations and even open-heart surgery. They monitor • People are living longer, thanks to advancements in heart rate and blood pressure and notify doctors after medicine, technology and healthy habits. detecting abnormalities. • The increase of certain chronic conditions such as • Education: Most earn at least an associate’s degree diabetes and obesity, which have more complicaat a community college; others complete a four-year tions and require more care. degree. • Gerontology (senior citizen care) is exploding with • Growth: There were 610 cardiovascular technolothe aging of the Baby Boomers. gist/technician jobs in Arkansas in 2016; jobs are WHAT ARE A FEW ALLIED HEALTH JOBS? expected to grow 10 percent by 2026. The website careerprofiles.info compiled a list of the • Pay: In Arkansas, the cardiovascular technologist/ fastest growing allied health care jobs in the United States. technician pay range is between $22,680 and $74,460. Medical Assistants perform clinical and administrative duties for doctors, surgeons, chiropractors and other Respiratory Therapists assess, treat and assist patients medical specialists. with cardiopulmonary and other breathing problems. • Typical job duties: Answering phones, greeting • Typical job duties: Assess, treat and assist patients; 36


oversee respiratory therapy, administer diagnostic tests and provide therapy. Education: Respiratory therapists generally hold an associate’s degree. Growth: There were 890 respiratory therapist jobs in Arkansas in 2016; jobs are expected to grow 23 percent by 2026. Pay: In Arkansas, the respiratory therapist pay range is between $33,870 and $68,400.

WHERE DO ALLIED HEALTH PROFESSIONALS WORK? Most allied health professionals work in a medical setting such as a doctor’s office, dental practice, clinic or hospital. Some may be mobile, bringing therapies to homebound patients or performing other duties. Many allied health jobs are an extension of the physician and frequently have close contact with patients. Not all allied health professionals act as front-line support for medical procedures however. These professionals maintain patient records and coordinate with insurance carriers for payment, among other tasks. Except for the fact they work at a clinic or doctor’s office, their work isn’t much different than clerical tasks in any other office. For more information on these and other allied health professional jobs and to find training programs, visit www. careeronestop.org.




Written by LaShannon Spencer, Chief Executive Officer for Community Health Centers of Arkansas

ot all jobs in the booming field of health care require infinite hours of experimenting in a lab or a gazillion years of schooling. There’s a whole roster of other well-paying, essential positions in the field of allied health care that serve patients while also offering a way forward financially for people employed in those jobs. And the universe of allied health workers—dietitians, dental hygienists, sonographers, radiographers, respiratory therapists, et cetera—is bound to grow. In 2018, the healthcare industry—for the first time in history— employed more people than any other major job sector. Annual growth in healthcare jobs is projected to outpace that of job growth elsewhere from now through, at least, 2028, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Of course, physicians and nurses are reflected in that overall data. So are allied health professionals who, at clinics, including rural ones, overseen by Community Health Centers of Arkansas, fill some critical gaps. Those allied workers also include everyone from social workers and other mental health therapists to patient support staffers who assist patients with navigating their patient care to nursing assistants who works hard to help improve the health outcome of patients. Whether in rural America or urban centers, the need for allied health workers is vast. Registered nurses of the Baby Boom generation who, at one recent point in history comprised a third of all RNs, are retiring in waves. Likewise, physician retirements are creating big gaps at a time when the nation’s population generally is getting older, and many of their attendant health concerns are surging. CHCA’s healthcare administrators and clinicians are tracking these changes. We’re trying to keep up in ways that serve our patients but also develop the workforce in areas where our networks of clinics often help drive or form the very core of the local economy. CHCA’s own strategy toward ensuring a culturally competent and diverse pool of allied health professionals is pretty practical. We target and educate an array of high school students about healthcare career opportunities within Arkansas’ healthcare centers but also in other U.S. locales. CHCA’s cutting-edge Franklin Community Health Complex will provide space and means for us to expand our existing partnership with the Little Rock School District EXCEL program serving standout kids from some of the high schools who are interested in pursuing careers in the health care field. To better serve rural areas, CHCA right now is refining what

we’re referring to as our Rural Community Health Career Pipeline. It’s another effort to inspire and steer high school students toward careers in community health centers where they live and may well want to remain. Indeed, some of the young people targeted by our outreach do aspire to the high sciences. Some want to be doctors and nurse practitioners and such. But some want to pursue a different path into healthcare, one that doesn’t necessarily require a college degree. Laying aside the increasingly prohibitive costs of baccalaureate and medical degrees—money is one factor fueling what this year was an eighth consecutive decline in U.S. college enrollment—some kids don’t have a heart for higher education as we know and define it. Many allied health jobs pay well and, as models of care keep evolving, provide opportunities for career growth. As examples, in 2018 the nation’s average yearly salaries were $74,820 for a dental hygienist; $67,080 for a diagnostic medical sonographer, vascular tech and the like; $46,240 for a licensed practical or vocational nurse; and $34,320 for an emergency medical technician/paramedic. Those jobs required no more than two-year degree from a junior college or a post-high school certification. Regrettably, home-health attendants were among the lowest paid of allied health workers, with an average salary of $24,060. We must address how to raise wages for group of workers; as healthcare innovations keep our aged and chronically-ill loved ones alive longer, we rely more and more on those ground-level workers for the feeding, wiping, cleaning, lifting and lowering of feeble bodies. As we educate young people on their options in allied healthcare, we do highlight those kinds of facts, the disparities. We do so in ways that will persuade young people of the tangible and ephemeral value of this work. We tell them, “If you’re passionate about belonging to a team, helping others … there is a place for you.” We tell them that many of their patients will appreciate the care that allied health workers render. For those who will choose to work in community health clinics, we tell them that their very presence helps keep health centers viable for the long-haul of what we—and the nation’s 1,400 networks operating 11,000 federally qualified health center (FQHCs) sites—do to provide comprehensive primary and preventive physical, mental/behavioral and dental health care to one in 12 Americans. For more information on community health centers in Arkansas, visit chc-ar.org.

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Aviation comes in all shapes and sizes, from crop dusters and private planes to small corporate jets to commercial airliners. Arkansas has a little bit of everything when it comes to this field, as it is home to aircraft manufacturing companies, airports and fixed-base operations. It’s a growing field in need of talented, skilled employees.

WHAT DO AVIATION TECHNICIANS DO? Aviation technicians perform a wide variety of duties on private and commercial aircraft. The actual job duties vary, depending on which area of the industry one chooses. Airframe • Perform inspections of aircraft frames, mechanical components and electrical systems to locate wear, defects and other problems. • Test aircraft functions using diagnostic equipment to ensure proper performance. • Repair or replace components using hand or power tools. • Technicians may specialize in a certain category of aircraft such as passenger jetliners, propellerdriven airplanes or helicopters. • Technicians may also focus on different systems such as engines (also known as “powerplant”) or hydraulics. Avionics • Specialize in aircraft electronics, which includes a range of job types. • Responsible for all the electronics onboard an aircraft, as well as the wiring that connects components to the electrical system. • Run cables, mount antennas and connect instruments for navigation and engine monitoring. • Test onboard equipment to ensure it’s working properly. WHERE DO AVIONIC TECHS WORK? Some specific types of businesses that employ aircraft technicians include: 38


Fixed Base of Operations At most airports, private companies called Fixed Base of Operations (FBO) provide a number of services to smaller aircraft such as corporate jets and private planes. Aviation technicians provide maintenance services for aircraft using the FBO. Airlines Commercial airlines have a lot of planes they need to keep operational if they are going to stay on schedule and deliver their passengers safely. Aircraft and avionics technicians are a key element of their success. Shipping companies Not all airplanes deliver people; some deliver millions of pieces of freight and consumer mail or packages every day. Retailers rely on companies like FedEx, UPS and the U.S. Postal Service to deliver orders to their customers, and these shipping companies rely on their planes to make that happen. Flying Services Flight schools, crop-dusting operations and air charter companies all need technicians to keep their machines in top shape and operating safely. WHAT’S THE JOB OUTLOOK? Arkansas had 670 aircraft mechanics in 2016 and the field is expected to grow by 8 percent by 2026. There were 110 avionics technicians in the state in 2016 and that job is expected to grow 6 percent by 2026. HOW MUCH CAN I MAKE? Aircraft Mechanics and Service Technicians • Lower range wages (bottom 10 percent) — $27,080 annually/$13.02 per hour

Middle range wages (median) — $52,080 annually/$25.04 per hour • Higher range wages (top 10 percent) — $77,010 annually/$37.02 per hour Avionics Technicians • Lower range wages (bottom 10 percent) — $41,140 annually/$19.78 per hour • Middle range wages (median) — $53,310 annually/$25.63 per hour • Higher range wages (top 10 percent) — $80,160 annually/$38.54 per hour WHAT DOES IT TAKE TO BE SUCCESSFUL? • Equipment Maintenance and Repairs • Troubleshooting/Quality Control Analysis • Critical Thinking • Complex Problem Solving HOW DO I LEARN THE CRAFT? Aviation technicians typically have some training after high school, taken at a community college or specialized aviation technical school. Be sure to select a program that is FAA approved. At the completion of this training, technicians take an exam administered by the FAA to obtain certification in their chosen field. Technicians can also expect to take continuing education classes or attend seminars or training sessions to stay current on new parts, regulations, technology and flight systems. Once a technician receives an associate’s degree, they can opt to complete a four-year degree, which opens up a number of other job opportunities and greater earning power.

Computer-aided design/computer-aided manufacturing drafters create 2D and 3D drawings that are used to manufacture products. Drafters also design and make parts for use in a number of machines that are part of the manufacturing processes.

WHAT DOES A CAD/CAM DRAFTER DO? Computer-aided design (CAD) and computer-aided manufacturing (CAM) are two computer-aided technologies. Starting in the 1980s, CAD/CAM programs have been used to make customized metal and plastic parts with computer-controlled machining. The drafter (sometimes called a CAD operator) creates a technical drawing that contains all the dimensions for the part, much like a blueprint shows the dimensions of a house or building. In addition to being faster than hand drawings and human-operated cutting or milling machines, CAD systems can also produce parts much more accurately. These machines have such precise measurements, they are accurate to 1/1,000 of an inch, one-third the width of a human hair. WHAT’S NEW? CAD is used in the design, development and manufacture of all kinds of products. CAD is widely used to produce parts for machines, in the design of manufacturing tools, and in designing residential and commercial buildings. CAD is especially important in microelectronics, providing lower development costs for newer, smaller and more powerful devices in a much shorter time frame. Drafters also work with CAD to create BIM drawings. BIM stands for building information modeling and is widely used in construction. To produce highly accurate digital models of buildings and machines. WHERE DO CAD/CAM DRAFTERS WORK? Architectural drafters • Draw architectural and structural features of buildings for construction projects. • May specialize in a type of building such as residential or commercial. • May also specialize by the materials used such as steel, wood or reinforced concrete. Civil drafters • Work with engineering firms, highway construction firms or within city planning departments. • Prepare maps used in municipal construction

projects such as highways and bridges. Electrical drafters • Prepare wiring diagrams that construction workers use to install and repair electrical equipment and wiring in power plants, residential and commercial buildings. • Employed by a wide range of companies, including construction, electrical firms and manufacturers. Electronics drafters • Produce wiring diagrams for circuit boards. • Produce layout drawings used in manufacturing and installing and repairing electronic devices and components. Mechanical drafters • Prepare layouts detailing a wide variety of machinery and mechanical tools and devices. • Mechanical drafters also sometimes create production molds. • Employed in a wide variety of manufacturing companies. WHAT’S THE JOB OUTLOOK? All categories combined, drafters in Arkansas held more than 900 jobs in 2016. About half of those worked in architectural or civil jobs. Most drafters work full time, spending the majority of their working hours in an indoor office setting. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, projected job growth for drafters overall is expected to average around 13 percent through 2026, growing faster than the national average and one of the faster-growing skilled job segments in Arkansas. HOW MUCH CAN I MAKE? Architectural/Civil • Lower range wages (bottom 10 percent) — $24,270 annually/$11.67 per hour • Middle range wages (median) — $44,340 annually/$21.32 per hour • Higher range wages (top 10 percent) — $62,450 annually/$30.02 per hour

Electrical/Electronics • Lower range wages (bottom 10 percent) — ­ $29,600 annually/$14.23 per hour • Middle range wages (median) — $59,820 annually/$28.76 per hour • Higher range wages (top 10 percent) — $90,820 annually/$43.66 per hour Mechanical • Lower range wages (bottom 10 percent) — $32,500 annually/$15.63 per hour • Middle range wages (median) — $47,820 annually/$22.99 per hour • Higher range wages (top 10 percent) — $74,560 annually/$35.85 per hour WHAT DOES IT TAKE TO BE SUCCESSFUL? • Creativity • Detail oriented • Interpersonal skills such as communication • Math/technical skills • Time-management skills HOW DO I LEARN THE CRAFT? Drafters generally need to complete a two-year associate’s degree from a community college. Drafters do not generally complete an apprenticeship like other trades do. Community colleges offer programs that lead to an associate of applied science in drafting or a related degree. The types of courses offered will vary by institution; some institutions may specialize in only one type of drafting. The American Design Drafting Association (ADDA) offers certification for drafters. ADDA certification shows you have invested extra time and effort into your craft and is sometimes required by your employer. It can also sometimes result in higher pay. Certifications are offered for several specialties, including architectural, civil and mechanical drafting.

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Of all the skilled professions, carpentry is the oldest and arguably the most widely recognized. A skilled carpenter makes a positive, even life-changing impact on the people — and quality of life — in their community.

WHAT DOES A CARPENTER DO? Carpenters construct, repair and install building frameworks, remodel and rehab existing buildings, and perform the finishing work made from wood and other materials. Carpentry is a versatile occupation in the construction industry, with craftsmen and women generally proficient in a variety of tasks. Some carpenters are more specialized, such as those who insulate office buildings and/or install drywall or kitchen cabinets in homes. The following are examples of types of carpenters: Construction carpenters • Construct, install and repair structures and fixtures. • Use hand tools and power tools to complete their work. • Construct building frameworks such as walls, floors and doorframes. Rough carpenters • Build rough, temporary wooden structures such as concrete forms and scaffolds. • May also build tunnels, bridges or sewer supports. • They use hand tools identical to that of construction carpenters. WHAT’S NEW? Cloud Computing/Apps Visit a construction site and you’ll see more iPhones and iPads than paper blueprints. Being skilled in the trades means knowing how to quickly store and retrieve plans, documents and schematics, and that’s exactly what the cloud does for today’s carpenters and their clients. If you choose to go into business for yourself, you will find apps that help you keep everything straight, from bidding new work to billing finished projects and everything in between.

and manpower running back to the contractor’s office. It also provides a work structure for the tradesmen and women in their proper order and coordinates the delivery of materials such as lumber, concrete, roofing materials or drywall. Drones Unmanned aerial vehicles are playing a larger role in the construction industry. Drones equipped with cameras can access remote locations, collect data, complete safety inspections, capture project progress and more. Surveyors also use them to create 3D mapping. WHERE DO CARPENTERS WORK? Carpenters work indoors and outdoors on many types of construction projects, from highways to kitchen remodels. Working outdoors subjects them to variable weather conditions, and there are times when conditions are such that a carpenter cannot work at all. Most carpenters work full time, which may include working evenings and weekends. This includes self-employed carpenters, particularly in the early stages of starting a business. Safety equipment such as boots, hardhats and harnesses (when working high off the ground) are all required when working for a general contractor or in an industrial setting.

WHAT’S THE JOB OUTLOOK? In 2016 there were 6,930 carpenter jobs in Arkansas. The Department of Labor predicts the number of these jobs in Arkansas will grow 11 percent by 2026, faster than the national average. About a third of carpenters are self-employed and one BIM in five works in residential construction. As with other Bulding Information Modeling (BIM) allows architects, construction jobs, carpenters are at the mercy of the engineers, contractors and other construction profession- economy, and when a slowdown occurs, building projects als to create virtual plans. BIM also provides onboard are sometimes postponed or even cancelled. When that tools for coordinating the many craftspeople who are happens, workers get laid off. scheduled to work on a building. HOW MUCH CAN I MAKE? Changes can be made easily in the building specs, with- • Lower range wages (bottom 10 percent) — $20,560 out having to lug around paper plans or waste a lot of time annually/$9.88 per hour



Middle range wages (median) — $35,430 annually/$17.03 per hour • Higher range wages (top 10 percent) — $51,150 annually/$24.59 per hour Your actual earnings depend on your experience, any specialties you might have and even what part of the state you live in. WHAT DOES IT TAKE TO BE SUCCESSFUL? • Business skills • Detail oriented • Dexterity • Math skills • Physical strength/stamina • Problem-solving skills HOW DO I LEARN THE CRAFT? A high school diploma is generally all that’s required to start a career in carpentry. High school courses in math, mechanical drawing and general technical training classes such as wood shop can be a helpful starting point. Carpenters typically learn their craft on the job and through apprenticeships. Individual businesses, unions and contractor associations may sponsor apprenticeship programs, which can take two to four years to complete. Apprentices learn carpentry basics, blueprint reading, mathematics, building code requirements, and safety and first-aid practices. Apprentice carpenters learn by working with more experienced co-workers and through classroom training. An apprentice typically begins doing simpler tasks such as measuring and cutting wood and works up to more complex jobs such as reading blueprints and building structures. There are also some community colleges that teach carpentry skills, which may or may not qualify as an apprenticeship. All carpenters must pass the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) 10- and 30-hour safety courses.

Have you ever wondered where the parts come from to create new machines or to repair or upgrade existing machines? That’s the role of CNC operators, specially trained individuals who design and make precision parts that are used in all kinds of industries and to help bring new manufacturing technology to life.

WHAT DOES A CNC OPERATOR DO? CNC stands for computer numerical control, and it refers to a category of machines that are used to precisionproduce metal and plastic parts. A CNC operator is a specially trained technician who sets up and operates these machines to cut, shape and form metal and plastic materials or pieces. A CNC operator’s job also includes studying blueprints or other instructions to determine equipment setup requirements. CNC operators conduct test runs of production equipment and make adjustments as necessary. CNC machines work from special designs produced by computer-aided manufacturing (CAM) or computer- aided design (CAD) systems. For this reason, CNC operators are sometimes cross-trained on CAD/CAM systems. WHAT’S NEW? Computer-controlled equipment represents a quantum leap forward in the industry, as these machines are able to cut, mill or shape parts much faster and with far more accuracy that parts that are created by hand. The technology works in much the same way as the software that powers 3D printers in a lab. CNC technology is a relatively recent invention and continues to evolve at a rapid pace. Machines can form and shape a part from multiple angles at once. Some have the ability to flip the component over during the machining process. CNC machines perform fully automated cuts or drill multiple holes with tremendous precision.

turing, which is a much cleaner and safer form of manufacturing and provides a much more comfortable workspace. Employees of companies that use advanced manufacturing generally work in an indoor, climate-controlled workplace. However, CNC operators must observe basic safety rules that may include wearing protective equipment. This equipment may include such things as safety glasses, earplugs and steel-toed boots. You may also have to wear a respirator to guard against fumes or dust, particularly when working with plastics. WHAT’S THE JOB OUTLOOK? According to the U.S. Department of Labor, there were only 100 CNC operators in the state in 2016, which leaves a lot of room for growth. CNC operators are the latest generation of a long line of machine operators and setters that have evolved with changes in technology in manufacturing. As more companies adopt systems that are considered “lean manufacturing,” CNC technology will continue to be an important part of production, and the demand for skilled CNC operators is likely to remain strong. Experts predict the number of these jobs to grow 20 percent by 2026. Most metal and plastic machine workers are employed full time. Overtime is common, and because many manufacturers run their machinery for extended periods, evening and weekend work is also common.

With experience and expertise, workers can become candidates for more advanced positions, which usually include higher pay and more responsibilities. Experienced workers with good communication and analytical skills may move into supervisory positions. WHAT DOES IT TAKE TO BE SUCCESSFUL? • Computer skills • Mathematics • Physical stamina/strength • Design • Mechanical skills HOW DO I LEARN THE CRAFT? Machine operator trainees usually begin by watching and helping experienced workers on the job. Eventually, these workers develop the skills and experience to set up machines and perform a full range of tasks. CNC machine tool programmers typically need to complete courses beyond high school. CNC operators generally do not complete an apprenticeship like other trades. Some operators are trained on basic machine operations and functions in a few months, while computer-controlled machine tool operators may need up to a year to become fully trained in their craft. Community colleges and other schools offer courses and certificate programs in operating metal and plastics machines that involve CNC programming.

HOW MUCH CAN I MAKE? • Lower range (bottom 10 percent) — $35,120 annuWHERE DO CNC OPERATORS WORK? ally/$16.89 per hour Most CNC operators today work in jobs in manufactur- • Middle range (median) — $48,840 annually/$23.48 ing facilities producing fabricated metal products, plastics per hour and rubber products, transportation equipment, primary • Upper range (top 10 percent) — $63,360 annually/ metal and machinery. $30.46 per hour CNC is a cornerstone technology of advanced manufacBLUEPRINT | 2019 | arktimes.com 41

Stop and think for a moment about everything in our world that runs on computer chips. Better yet, try to think of something that isn’t controlled by a computer or an app. The fact is, nearly everything we do is impacted in some way by technology — technology that’s configured at some stage by a computer programmer.

WHAT DO COMPUTER PROGRAMMERS AND Machine Learning COMPUTER CODERS DO? • Machine Learning is a subset of artificial intelligence HOW MUCH CAN I MAKE? Even though computer programmers and computer whereby computers are programmed to learn to do Computer programmers coders are in the same job family, there are important something they are not programmed to do. Com- • Lower range wages (bottom 10 percent) — $43,260 differences to consider. puters “learn” by discovering patterns and insights annually/$20.80 per hour Computer coders write the computer language (or from data. In general, there are two types of learn- • Middle range wages (median) — $66,940 annucode) for software programs that tell machines what to ing: supervised and unsupervised. ally/$32.18 per hour do. This software acts as the brains behind many of our • Machine Learning is rapidly being deployed in all • Higher range wages (top 10 percent) — $109,950 “smart” devices (smartphones, smart cars, etc.) Coders kinds of industries, creating a huge demand for annually/$52.86 per hour may also develop websites or apps for the companies skilled professionals. Machine Learning applicaYour actual earning power depends on the company they work for. tions are used for data analytics, data mining and you work for, your level of experience and certifications, Computer programmers do the same thing as compattern recognition. your years of experience and, in some cases, the part of puter coders, but they are also responsible for managing • Jobs in this area rank among the top emerging jobs the state where you work. the overall project of designing, producing and testing on LinkedIn, with almost 2,000 job listings posted. a new software product or designing a network system. WHAT DOES IT TAKE TO BE SUCCESSFUL? WHERE DO COMPUTER PROGRAMMERS AND Analytical skills WHAT’S NEW? CODERS WORK? Thinking creatively Consider: Just 10 years ago, few people even knew Most programmers and coders work full time in offices, Detail oriented what an app was, and look where we are now. Technology but the nature of the work allows many to work from Problem-solving moves so fast, just about anything we could list under home. Programmers may work alone or they may work the heading “What’s New” is likely to be replaced by as part of a team, depending on the size of the project. HOW DO I LEARN THE CRAFT? something faster and smarter within a very short period If you attend high school in Arkansas, you already have of time. Some emerging trends in the industry include: WHAT’S THE JOB OUTLOOK? access to beginning coding classes. In 2015, the state Virtual Reality (VR)/Augmented Reality (AR) In 2016, there were 3,860 computer programming legislature passed a law requiring all Arkansas schools • Technologies that provide the user the ability to positions in Arkansas. Expert predictions are mixed as to provide computer science classes that included codexperience a 360-degree digital environment. to the future job outlook; some sources predict a decline ing and other IT subjects as a way to give students a • Some applications include giving a client a look at in the number of jobs, while others expect it to grow as jump on the careers of the future. Arkansas was the first a building before it is built, conducting flight train- much as 8 percent. and, at the time, the only state in the country to require ing or producing a safety course that simulates fire Computer programmers and coders are part of a much schools to offer such classes. or other emergency. larger group of jobs under the category of information technology. Programmers who have general business Robotic Process Automation (RPA) experience may become computer systems analysts. • RPA is the use of software to automate repetitive With experience, some programmers may become softtasks that people used to do. ware developers. With the right education and experi• About 60 percent of occupations can be partially ence, the career options in information technology are automated; less than 5 percent can be completely nearly endless. replaced by technology. • While this technology would affect, and potentially eliminate, some positions, it would also create new ones. 42


Diesel engines are the workhorses of the road and jobsite. Machines, from over-the-road trucks, to bulldozers, to industrial and farm equipment, run on diesel engines, which are known for their reliability and toughness. Diesel techs keep these machines rolling and running — on the road, the jobsite and in factories.

WHAT DO DIESEL TECHS DO? Diesel technicians inspect, diagnose, repair and maintain any machine with a diesel engine. A few examples include: • Aircraft support equipment. • Farm equipment, including tractors, harvesters, dairy and irrigation systems. • Marine equipment, ships and yachts. • Over-the-road trucks (semis). • Buses and dump trucks. • Earth-moving equipment such as bulldozers, loaders, backhoes and graders. • Road construction/highway paving equipment. • Industrial/factory machines, including cranes, pumps and drilling equipment. A diesel technician is similar to a diesel mechanic, because both use tools and training to diagnose problems, make repairs and perform necessary maintenance. A diesel technician is different from a diesel mechanic, generally speaking, in that : • Diesel technicians are trained to handle onboard electronics (computer systems) of the modern diesel engine. • Diesel mechanics are primarily trained to repair mechanical (moving parts) components of an engine. Typical day-to-day job duties of diesel technicians include: • Make major and minor engine repairs by repairing or replacing parts and components. • Perform routine and preventative maintenance. • Work on a vehicle’s electrical and exhaust systems to comply with pollution regulations. • Test drive vehicles to diagnose malfunctions or to ensure that they run smoothly.

and insurance guidelines, the trucking industry has a WHAT’S THE JOB OUTLOOK? lot of rules it must abide by. To help stay in compliance, There were about 3,070 diesel technicians in Arkansas trucking companies rely on the technology that’s built in 2016 and the Department of Labor expects that number into their fleet. to grow by 12 percent by 2026. That’s a job growth rate It’s not unusual for a new truck to have multiple com- that’s faster than the national average. puters onboard regulating everything from speed and location to fuel consumption. Some trucks are sophisti- HOW MUCH CAN I MAKE? cated enough to monitor their own systems and alert the • Lower range wages (bottom 10 percent) — $27,530 operator when a problem is detected. annually/$13.24 per hour Older trucks that didn’t have these computers installed • Middle range wages (median) — $38,610 annuwhen they were built are often overhauled with the new ally/18.56 per hour technology to help bring them up to speed. • Higher range wages (top 10 percent) ­— $57,000 Farm technology is another fast-growing area where annually/$27.40 per hour technicians are needed. Modern farm equipment can map out a field, test soil samples from different areas and WHAT DOES IT TAKE TO apply the precise mix of fertilizer or minerals for each area. BE SUCCESSFUL? Harvesting equipment comes equipped with auto-steer, Physical skills can track yields in real-time and utilizes GPS to minimize Physical strength harvest guesswork. Technical skills Computer knowledge WHERE DO DIESEL TECHS WORK? Soft skills Diesel techs are employed by (among others): • Manufacturers. HOW DO I LEARN THE CRAFT? • Trucking companies. Many technicians, like mechanics, learned their trade • Equipment dealerships. on the job, but these days many employers prefer to hire • Farm operations. technicians who have formal education in the field. As • Cities and counties. a result, several two-year colleges in Arkansas provide Some techs may also work as inspectors to make sure educational courses ranging from six months to about equipment meets government regulations. two years to complete. The work environment for diesel technicians is in a In addition, many diesel technicians are also required repair, maintenance or garage-type facility. Some are to have a commercial driver’s license (CDL), which allows mobile and must travel to the site of a breakdown or job- them to test-drive the vehicles they work on. Employers site to provide service. In these instances, you may be may also send experienced technicians to special trainrequired to work outside, sometimes in inclement weather. ing classes conducted by manufacturers and vendors to The majority of diesel techs work full time. Some com- learn about the latest diesel technology, techniques and panies require on-call, night and weekend hours. Working equipment. WHAT’S NEW? hours may depend on your specialty; you may work on Some employers may require (and pay for) their techs Diesel machinery has enjoyed major advances in tech- trucks as they come in for service, respond to emergency to be certified by the National Institute for Automotive nology, which have created a growth in the need for skilled calls as they happen, or you may be responsible for the Service Excellence (ASE). Diesel technicians may be certitechnicians. regular maintenance of a fleet of vehicles and equipment. fied in specific repair areas such as drivetrains, electronic Between safety regulations, environmental controls systems, and preventative maintenance and inspection. BLUEPRINT | 2019 | arktimes.com 43

Electricians bring electrical power to homes and factories in every city and town in America. It is a steady occupation that is expected to grow rapidly in the coming years and is evolving with new levels of technology. You can choose to work for an electrical contractor, be on staff in a factory or own your own business, with the right license. All in all, it’s an exciting profession that’s always in demand.

WHAT DOES AN ELECTRICIAN DO? WHAT’S NEW? Electricians install and maintain electrical power, wiring, Green Energy communications, lighting and control systems in homes, • Green energy includes solar panels and wind turbines businesses and factories. They work in accordance with to generate power. rules and regulations to ensure that buildings operate in • Electricians handle special storage units called higha way that is safe to residents and occupants. efficiency photovoltaic cells to collect energy. • They also install and service power converters, which Electricians’ general day-to-day responsibilities include: take the energy generated by the sun or wind, con• Ensure businesses and factories operate safely and vert it to electricity and download it into the electriefficiently through scheduled maintenance and cal system. upgrades to their electrical systems. Smart Electrical Grids • Repair control systems, large and small motors • New technology that regulates the flow of power to and other equipment in factories; install electrical users, detects malfunctions in the grid, and maintains machines in factories. service to homes and businesses. • Read blueprints and install electrical wiring and sys- • Electricians keep smart grids running at peak pertems in new residential and commercial buildings formance. under construction. Home Powered Roof Shingles • Access, test and upgrade older systems during remodRoof shingles that collect sunlight and convert it into eling projects. Find and replace faulty or aged wiring energy that powers the building. The shingles could potenthat could pose a safety hazard. tially present a lower-cost option than conventional solar • Plan the layout and installation of wiring through an panels. entire building or series of buildings. Add, maintain Electricians are needed to wire the solar shingling sysand replace circuit breakers, fuses and wires. tem into the building’s electrical systems. • Review the work other electricians do, making sure it meets the safety standards and building codes. WHERE DO ELECTRICIANS WORK? Electricians work indoors and outdoors, at homes, busiElectricians can be divided into four general categories: nesses, factories and construction sites. Many electricians Residential Wiremen work alone, but sometimes they collaborate with others. • Install and maintain electrical wires that go into At larger companies, electricians are more likely to work peoples’ homes. as part of a crew. During scheduled maintenance or on • Install new electrical equipment such as light fixtures, construction sites, electricians can expect to work overtime. ceiling fans, dimmer switches and outlets. Work schedules may include evenings and weekends Inside Wiremen and may vary during times of bad weather, which may • Place and maintain electrical wires in office buildings, require working in rain, wind or snow. factories, airports, schools and hospitals. • Maintenance or repair of assembly line machinery WHAT’S THE JOB OUTLOOK? or motors. Electricians held about 6,200 jobs in Arkansas in 2016, Telecommunications Electricians the majority of them working for electrical contractors. • Lay cable (including fiber optics) needed for all forms Nearly all electricians work full time. The U.S. Department of communication, including phone and computers. of Labor predicts that by 2026, the number of electrician • Install systems that run telephones, intercoms, com- jobs in Arkansas will grow to 6,870. This represents an puter networks, security and fire alarms. 11 percent growth rate, which is higher than the national Outside Linemen average. • Work atop telephone poles or alongside the road. • Work to restore power after storms and floods. HOW MUCH CAN I MAKE? • Lower range wages (bottom 10 percent) — $25,340 annually/$12.18 per hour 44


Middle range wages (median) — $43,140 annually/$20.74 per hour • Higher range wages (top 10 percent) — $62,490 annually/$30.04 per hour Your actual earning power depends on the company your work for, your level of experience and licensing, your years of experience and, in some cases, the part of the state where you work. REQUIRED KNOWLEDGE/SKILLS/ABILITIES: • Intellectual ability • Skills in math, algebra, reading, writing. • Troubleshooting • Mechanical ability • Business/interpersonal skills such as time management and communication • Physical skills HOW DO I LEARN THE CRAFT? Most electricians learn their trade in a combination of classroom education and on-the-job training. Some twoyear colleges also offer courses in electrical fields. Generally, a high school diploma is sufficient to get started. The most common way electricians learn is through an apprenticeship program; think of these programs as “electrician school.” Apprenticeship programs take four or five years to complete and are often paid for by your employer. Some schools are also offered by trade groups and labor unions. Since most apprentices are already employed, they work during the day where they are supervised by more experienced, licensed electricians and attend class at night. Upon completion of apprentice school, you can test for your journeyman’s license, which allows you to work unsupervised on most tasks. You can stay a journeyman electrician as long as you want, but many electricians choose to test for the highest license, a master electrician. You are eligible to test for your master’s license after being an electrician for five years, at least one of which must be at the journeyman level. The benefits of becoming a master electrician is more money and they may open their own electrical business. Electricians may be required to take continuing education courses by their employers. These courses are usually related to safety practices, changes to the electrical code and training from manufacturers on specific products.

If it can push, pull, pump or lift material, rolls on tires or crawls on tracks like a tank, it’s where the heavy equipment operator calls home. On virtually all construction projects, these employees are the first workers on the job and the last to leave. Their work is essential to a smooth-running construction project.

WHAT DO HEAVY EQUIPMENT OPERATORS DO? Operators drive, maneuver or control a variety of heavy construction equipment. “Heavy equipment” is a blanket term for numerous machines including: • Cranes. • Bulldozers. • Front-end loaders. • Backhoes. • Graders. • Dredges. • Excavators. • Hoists. In addition to operating these machines, heavy equipment personnel also do the following: • Clean and maintain equipment. • Make basic repairs. • Drive and maneuver equipment. • Coordinate with other craftsmen on the jobsite. Some of the most common job titles within this category include: Operating engineers (sometimes called hoisting or portable engineers). • Work with excavation and loading machines equipped with scoops, shovels or buckets that dig sand, gravel, earth or similar materials. • Includes bulldozers, trench excavators, road graders . • Includes industrial trucks or tractors equipped with forklifts or booms for lifting materials. Paving and surfacing equipment operators • Control machines that spread and level asphalt or concrete for roadways or other structures. • Includes asphalt spreaders, concrete paving machine operators and tamping equipment. Pile-driver operators • Use large machines mounted on skids, barges or cranes to hammer piles into the ground. • Piles, made of concrete, wood or steel, support retaining walls, bridges, piers and building foundations. WHAT’S NEW? Internet of Things (IoT) • A sensor, or group of sensors, installed for collecting and transferring data. Whenever a product car-

ries the term “smart” or “intelligent” (smartphone, intelligent building) it’s considered part of this new group of products. • Heavy equipment includes a wide range of sensors that automatically provide information, including diagnostics, fuel usage, machine hours and more. • More workers are also wearing safety sensors to monitor air quality and biometrics at the worksite. • Radio frequency identification (RFID) tags are commonly used to track materials and tools. Designed Multifunctionality • Construction companies are always looking for ways to get the most out of expensive equipment. • Multifunctional equipment can adapt a machine to a variety of tasks, such as backhoes that double as loaders through the use of interchangeable attachments. Telematics • Used for years by trucking companies, telematics keep track of the location, condition and operation of machines on the road or the jobsite. • The feature uses global positioning to determine where and how equipment is being used. WHERE DO HEAVY EQUIPMENT OPERATORS WORK? The majority of construction equipment operators work full time, in nearly every type of weather conditions. Like all jobs that work outdoors, there is the potential to get dirty, greasy or muddy on the jobsite. Some operators may also work in remote locations and have irregular schedules to match around-the-clock production or work that must be done late at night. WHAT’S THE JOB OUTLOOK? There were a little more than 3,580 heavy equipment operators in Arkansas in 2016 and the number of positions is expected to grow 10 percent by 2026, slightly below the national average. Heavy equipment operators who are versatile with several different types of equipment will find themselves more in-demand than those who are proficient with only one kind of rig.

HOW MUCH CAN I MAKE? • Lower range wages (bottom 10 percent) — $25,040 annually/$12.04 per hour • Middle range wages (median) — $35,640 annually/$17.14 per hour • Higher range wages (top 10 percent) — $49,500 annually/$23.80 per hour WHAT DOES IT TAKE TO BE SUCCESSFUL? • Hand-eye-foot coordination • Mechanical skills • Physical strength • Comfortable with heights • Building and construction WHERE DO I LEARN THE CRAFT? Many workers learn equipment operation on the job after earning a high school diploma or equivalent, while others learn by attending a two-year college. Among two-year colleges, some may specialize in a particular brand or type of construction equipment, while others may incorporate sophisticated simulator training into their courses. This allows beginners to familiarize themselves with the equipment in a virtual environment before operating real machines. Heavy equipment operators do not generally complete an apprenticeship program as workers in other trades do. In some cases, training is provided by equipment manufacturers, a trade union, industry groups or private companies. New operators or operators-in-training may operate light equipment under the guidance of an experienced operator before moving up to heavier equipment such as bulldozers. Some construction equipment with computerized controls requires greater skill to operate. Operators of this equipment may need additional training and some understanding of electronics. Construction equipment operators often need a commercial driver’s license (CDL) to haul equipment to jobsites and may need special licenses for operating specific pieces of equipment. BLUEPRINT | 2019 | arktimes.com 45

HVACR technicians ensure people’s comfort by installing and maintaining heating, ventilation, air conditioning and refrigeration systems for homes and businesses. It’s a career field that demands a variety of skills of its technicians, and as long as summers are hot, winters are cold and food needs to be refrigerated, it’s a job that will never be out of demand.

WHAT DOES A HVACR TECHNICIAN DO? HVACR (sometimes written as HVAC-R) stands for heating, ventilation, air conditioning and refrigeration. HCAVR technicians are specially trained individuals who: install, service and maintain heating and air conditioning systems in: homes, businesses,and multi-unit residential HVAC-R technicians work with systems such as oil burners, boilers, heat pumps, central air conditioning and hot-air furnaces. They also work with components and appliances such as commercial grade ice makers, refrigerators and freezers. Some day-to-day duties include: • Perform annual inspections and servicing. • Replace old, outdated technology with more energyefficient, greener models. • Maintain ductwork that carries air from the heating or air conditioning unit to various parts of a building. • Repair systems when they break down.

piping placed into the ground. years. Imagine how many houses, apartments and comFluid in this piping loop absorbs heat, which is car- mercial buildings are built or remodeled every year; that’s ried back indoors to provide heating. about how many systems need replacing. • Can also be used to supply cooling. • Advertised to be up to four times more efficient than HOW MUCH CAN I MAKE? traditional systems. • Lower range wages (bottom 10 percent) — $24,880 Smart thermostats annually/$11.96 per hour • Whole-house control systems that monitor and main- • Middle range wages (median) — $39,300 annutain climate control. ally/$18.89 per hour • Device “learns” owner preference and automatically • Higher range wages (top 10 percent) — $58,380 annuadjusts rooms to those settings. ally/$28.07 per hour • Turns itself off when room is unoccupied; provides Wi-Fi enabled remote monitoring. WHAT DOES IT TAKE TO BE SUCCESSFUL? • Soft skills WHERE DO HVAC TECHNICIANS WORK? • Active listening A tech might work for a company that is appointment- • Communication based, going from home to home installing and maintain- • Customer service ing cooling systems. Or, in industrial or commercial set- • Critical thinking/troubleshooting WHAT’S NEW? tings, techs might report to the same job site all day long • Mechanical/construction skills Thermal-driven air conditioning for weeks at a time. Often, a HVACR tech’s van or truck • Physical skills/stamina • Uses solar energy, backed up by natural gas on cloudy is their office and workshop rolled into one. days or at night. HVACR techs may work full time, regular hours or they HOW DO I LEARN THE CRAFT? • Solar panels generate high enough temperature to may be assigned at least part of the time to on-call to handle HVAC technicians require specialized training and drive a double-effect chiller . emergencies. These calls come in during business hours, licensing. The level of complexity of today’s systems means • Provides a low-cost alternative to conventional air on weekends and holidays, or in the middle of the night. most employers prefer to hire workers who have received conditioning units. After storms or blizzards and the normal changing of the specialized instruction after high school, either through a Ice-powered air conditioner seasons are almost guaranteed to generate a lot of overtime. community college or a 3- to 5-year paid apprenticeship. • Another low-cost alternative to conventional air conApprentices acquire their skills both in the classroom ditioning. WHAT’S THE JOB OUTLOOK? and on the job, with the cost of the training often paid for • Freezes 450 gallons of water in a tank overnight, proThere were almost 3,150 HVACR positions in Arkansas by the employer. In Arkansas, HVAC technicians are also vides cooling for up to six hours. in 2016, and that number is expected to grow a whopping required to hold one or more licenses, depending on job • Once ice melts, system switches to backup air con- 18 percent by 2026. Arkansas’s job growth rate is projected responsibilities. Following your formal training, you must ditioning unit. to be higher than the national average for this position. sit for an exam to earn your license. Geothermal heat pump To understand job growth, remember even the best • Makes use of heat from the earth by way of looped HAVC system has a practical operating life of about 15 46


If you’re someone who likes every day to provide a different challenge — and who enjoys being multifaceted enough to meet those challenges — then Industrial Maintenance may be the field for you. These skilled professionals are the go-to in any factory or industrial facility, trained to handle a number of situations. They are key players in keeping machinery rolling and the production schedule on time.

WHAT DOES AN INDUSTRIAL MAINTENANCE TECHNICIAN DO? Industrial maintenance personnel are the mechanical experts in any manufacturing facility, trained to assemble, repair and service expensive equipment. They have a wide skill set that allows them to adapt to various situations. Examples of machines they may work with are robotic welding arms, automobile assembly line conveyor belts, hydraulic lifts, production machinery and packaging equipment. Companies often consult with their industrial maintenance personnel before purchasing new equipment. The industrial maintenance field can be broken down into the following job titles: Industrial machinery mechanics • Detect and correct errors before the machine damages itself or the product. • Use technical manuals, understanding of industrial equipment and observation to determine the cause of a problem. • Utilize computerized diagnostic systems and vibration analysis techniques to determine the cause of malfunctions. • Disassemble malfunctioning machines, repair or replace parts, reassemble, then test. • Work with hand tools; also utilize lathes, grinders and drill presses. Welding skills are often required. Machinery maintenance workers • Perform basic maintenance and repairs on machines. • Clean, lubricate, perform basic diagnostic tests, check performance, test damaged machine parts. • Following machine specifications and adhering to maintenance schedules, they also perform minor repairs. • Use a variety of tools from screwdrivers and socket wrenches to hoists. Millwrights • Install, maintain and disassemble industrial machines • Perform repairs, including replacing worn or defective parts of machines. • May take apart entire machines to relocate them or

make room for new equipment. Machinery maintenance workers Disassemble, categorize and package each part of • Lower Range (bottom 10 percent) — $19,900 annuthe machine. ally /$9.57 per hour • These projects can take a few hours or can take sev- • Middle Range (median) — $31,070 annually/$14.94 eral weeks. per hour • Upper Range (top 10 percent) — $48,780 annually/ WHERE DO INDUSTRIAL $23.45 per hour MAINTENANCE TECHNICIANS WORK? Millwrights The vast majority of these skilled professionals work in • Lower Range (bottom 10 percent) — $27,890 annua manufacturing or industrial plant. A small percentage ally/$13.41 per hour work for companies that specialize in industrial repair • Middle Range (median) — $39,970 annually/$15.27 and maintenance. per hour Most of these technicians are employed full time dur- • Upper Range (top 10 percent) — $60,160 annually/ ing regular business hours, but they may also serve on-call, $28.92 per hour night or weekend shifts. The majority of work is typically performed indoors. WHAT DOES IT TAKE Workers must follow safety precautions and usually TO BE SUCCESSFUL? wear some form of protective equipment, such as hard- • Mechanical skills hats, safety glasses, steel-toed shoes, gloves and earplugs. • Production/processing methods • Math skills WHAT’S THE JOB OUTLOOK? • Repair/maintenance skills The outlook in this sector is bright. There were 5,180 • Operation monitoring industrial machinery mechanics jobs in Arkansas in 2016, • Troubleshooting/diagnosis jobs that are expected to grow 13 percent by 2026, well ahead of the national average. HOW DO I LEARN THE CRAFT? Machinery maintenance workers held 12,590 positions Most workers in this field have at least a high school in 2016 and are expected to grow to 13,900 positions in diploma and, depending on the position, may complete 2026, an 11 percent increase. Millwrights numbered 480 in some post-secondary education up to an associate’s degree. 2016 and will grow to 510 by 2026, up 8 percent. All three Industrial maintenance programs are generally offered professions are growing faster than the national average. through community colleges and may include courses such as welding, mathematics, hydraulics and pneumatics. HOW MUCH CAN I MAKE? Industrial machinery mechanics may receive more Industrial machinery mechanics than a year of on-the-job training and often receive some • Lower Range (bottom 10 percent) — $31,510 annually college coursework as well. / $15.15 per hour Most millwrights go through an apprenticeship program • Middle range wages (median) -- $45,770 annually/$22 that lasts about four years, after which they can usually per hour perform tasks with less guidance. Employers, local unions • Higher range wages (top 10 percent) -- $68,450 annu- and contractor associations typically sponsor apprenticeally/$32.91 per hour ship programs. •

BLUEPRINT | 2019 | arktimes.com 47

Imagine someone invents a new machine that will revolutionize the way a certain product is manufactured. Have you ever wondered where parts, instruments and components come from to build that machine? Machinists are industrial technicians that provide the solution and also produce parts and components for existing machines.

WHAT DOES A MACHINIST DO? Long before anyone had ever heard of a “maker space,” there were machinists, trained craftspeople who produce parts and instruments using a variety of mechanical and computer-controlled machines. Machinists set up and operate a variety of computer- and mechanically controlled tools to fashion raw materials like metal and plastic into precision parts and instruments. Many machinists today must be able to use both manual and computer numerical control (CNC) machinery. Workers may produce large quantities of one part, small batches or one-of-a-kind items. Parts range from simple steel bolts to titanium bone screws for orthopedic implants. Because most machinists train in CNC programming, they may also write basic programs and often modify programs. These modifications, called offsets, fix problems and improve efficiency by reducing manufacturing time and tool wear. WHAT’S NEW? Remote smart operations • The Internet of Things incorporates smart, connected devices, including smart sensors to improve control over equipment and deliver more insights. • Various machines can operate autonomously, requiring human input or oversight only when something goes wrong. • When there is a problem, IoT offers much better diagnostic capabilities helping technicians pinpoint and correct problems. Laser-beam machining • A thermal process for chip or material removal, also known as laser micromachining (LBM). • A high-energy laser beam focuses on a component and the thermal energy transfers to the targeted surface. • Laser beam machining is more widely adopted in manufacturing, particularly for carbon fiber materials and more durable composites. 3D printing 48


3D printers can create products and components from a variety of raw materials, including concrete, wood, steel and an increasing range of metals, alloys, ceramics and metal-matrix composite materials. • Hybrid machining incorporates both traditional CNC machining and 3D printing solutions to improve product development. • Manufacturers have much more control over the goods they create. Materials and components can be printed right at a job site with an unlimited range of customization. Automated finishing systems • Robotic-powered finishing systems are revolutionizing the quality and output of the machinist industry. • Robotic abrasive blasting systems offer unmatched improvements in quality, efficiency, versatility and safety. WHERE DO MACHINISTS WORK? The vast majority of machinists work in manufacturing industries and independent machine shops. Maintenance machinists work in most industries that use machinery in manufacturing plants. Most machine shops are relatively clean, well-lit and ventilated and many computer-controlled machines are partially or totally enclosed. Exposure to noise, debris and lubricants are greatly minimized. Workers must follow safety precautions, including wearing safety glasses and earplugs. WHAT’S THE JOB OUTLOOK? There were just under 2,620 machinist jobs in Arkansas in 2016 and the outlook for job growth is good. Analysts predict these jobs will grow 4 percent by 2026. This demand is in part because so many people in the workplace are reaching retirement age.

HOW MUCH CAN I MAKE? • Lower range wages (bottom 10 percent) — $26,080 annually/$12.54 per hour • Middle range wages (median) — $40,290 annually/$19.37 per hour • Higher range wages (top 10 percent) — $61,480 annually/$29.56 per hour Individual wages can fluctuate by industry, experience and skill level. Machinists can advance in their careers in several ways: • Become CNC programmers. • Become tool and die or mold makers. • Be promoted to supervisory or administrative positions. • Open your own machine shop. WHAT DOES IT TAKE TO BE SUCCESSFUL? • Physical strength/stamina • Analytical and mathematical skills • Attention to detail • Mechanical/technical skills HOW DO I LEARN THE CRAFT? After earning a high school diploma or equivalent, some machinists learn entirely on the job. Others acquire skills in a mix of classroom and on-the-job training. Formal training programs, typically sponsored by a union or manufacturer, are an excellent way to learn the job. Training programs are often a combination of paid shop training and related classroom instruction and, depending on the program, can take months or years. Two-year college programs range from a couple of months to two years. In Arkansas, machinists don’t generally serve an apprenticeship like other trades do.

Few skilled labor jobs provide as many different opportunities or are in as consistently high demand as plumbers. Whether working in new construction, industrial settings or running their own business, plumbers have the potential to earn very good wages over a long, successful career.

WHAT DO PLUMBERS DO? Plumbers build and maintain piping systems that are responsible for moving liquid, steam, natural gas, liquid fuel or waste from one place to another. Day-to-day work activities include: • Install and connect piping and fixtures, including welding metal components. • Develop blueprints to plan pipes and fixtures within a structure. • Make connections between the city’s water supply and homes and businesses. • Install bathtubs, showers, sinks, toilets, dishwashers and water heaters. • They may help design where the plumbing fixtures should go within the building. • In industrial settings, they perform inspections, maintenance and new installation, handling fuel, wastewater and water used as a coolant, such as in nuclear power plants. • Perform minor carpentry to repair or reconfigure systems, such as cutting holes in walls to access pipes or hanging supports to hold pipes in place • Install and service septic systems. • Perform functions related to gas lines, including installation, maintenance and replacement and proper installation of gas appliances. Related jobs that utilize the same basic plumbing skill set while performing additional specialized work include: Pipelayers • Provide the major framework for outside plumbing systems by installing the pipe to build these systems. • Construct oil and gas lines by soldering, welding or cementing them in place. Pipefitters and steamfitters • The primary difference between pipefitters and steamfitters is pipefitters specialize in pipe systems that move liquids, while steamfitters specialize in pipe systems that move high-pressure liquids or gases. • Pipefitters and steamfitters work with both highpressure and low-pressure systems and install automated controls to regulate industrial systems. Sprinklerfitters • A highly specialized plumber who installs and maintains automatic fire sprinkler systems in office buildings, manufacturing and industrial plants and multiunit residential properties. • They may also work for landscape companies installing in-ground sprinkler systems. •

WHAT’S NEW? “Brain Pipes” • Smart home automation plumbing systems that allow the homeowner to conserve natural resources and reduce their water footprint. • Smart pipes can monitor an entire home or building, sending the property owner an alert to any breaks or leaks. Green Plumbing High-efficiency components designed to reduce water usage. • Includes faucets, shower heads and toilets with low-flow flush capacity. •

Smart Appliances Self-monitoring dishwashers, washing machines, water heaters and toilets. • Computer chips control everything from wash settings and water temperature to water conservation modes and automated cycles. • Appliances sync with smart devices to be controlled remotely. •

Greywater Recycling Systems capture water from bathroom sinks, showers and washing machines that may contain traces of dirt, food or cleaning products. • Systems redirect this water for use in watering residential yards and gardens or landscaping and flower beds outside corporations and office buildings. •

WHERE DO PLUMBERS WORK? With so many applications for a plumber’s skills, they can work in a wide range of environments: If you work for a plumbing business that serves residential clients, or if you work for a manufacturing firm, you may work primarily daytime hours. If you work for a company that does work in new construction, you could work outdoors in remote locations or put in overtime to keep up with production schedules. Plumbers who are self-employed have some flexibility to determine their own schedules, but it takes a lot of work and “extra mile” service to get a business off the ground. Nearly all plumbers work “on call” at some point in their career, providing late-night and weekend emergency service. There’s no denying that some of the material plumbers work with is unpleasant, particularly in the case of wastewater, backed-up toilets or malfunctioning septic systems. But that’s only one part of the plumbing industry. Plumbers who work for manufacturers and power plants

often work in climate-controlled conditions. Building new piping systems is no more or less uncomfortable than any other craft at a job site. WHAT’S THE JOB OUTLOOK? There were almost 3,400 plumbing jobs in 2016 and the future for this skilled profession is very bright. Experts predict that the number of plumbing jobs will increase 17 percent by 2026. HOW MUCH CAN I MAKE? • Lower range wages (bottom 10 percent) — $26,540 annually/$12.76 per hour • Middle range wages (median) — $41,340 annually/$19.88 per hour • Higher range wages (top 10 percent) — $61,780 annually/$29.70 per hour Some things that impact your earning potential include your license level (apprentice, journeyman, master) and any additional training or certifications you earn. For master plumbers who choose to start their own business versus working for an established firm, potential earnings are limited only by your skill, customer service and work ethic. WHAT DOES IT TAKE TO BE SUCCESSFUL? • Mechanical ability • Building and construction expertise • Design skills HOW DO I LEARN THE CRAFT? Plumbers begin their journey in an apprenticeship program. Apprenticeship training schools are specialized education centers sponsored by trade associations, unions, as stand-alone institutions and some two-year Arkansas colleges. Apprenticeships range from 4- to 5-year programs and, typically, you are sent to apprentice school by your employer after hiring on with a company. What this means is, you work during the day, learning your craft under an experienced plumber, and attend class one or two nights per week for classroom instruction. It also means that your education is paid for by your employer. After you complete your apprenticeship, you test for your journeyman’s license. A journeyman level plumber can work unassisted on most projects and can generally handle more advanced projects than an apprentice. Some people choose to test for their master’s license. Master plumbers represent the highest level of plumbers and therefore command the highest pay.

BLUEPRINT | 2019 | arktimes.com 49


or many, the military provides not only a way to serve one’s country but also a job that provides outstanding benefits. It’s also a great way to learn a valuable skill that can be the foundation for a career in civilian life. “I was in high school, couldn’t decide what I was going to do when I got out of high school,” said Corey Phillips, 35, an intelligence analyst with the U.S. Army National Guard. “I thought about college, and I didn’t have a great option to go to college, money-wise, so I thought about the military. “I had family that served in the military, quite a few of them, so I went that route. It was junior year going into my senior year; [I] went and talked to a recruiter and he told me about the military and I was convinced. It’ll pay for college, and I can serve my country like my family has in the past.”

WHAT CAN I DO IN THE MILITARY? The five branches of the United States Military — Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and Coast Guard — are, first and foremost, tasked with defending the interest of the United States and its allies against hostile aggressors such as terrorists and enemy combatants in wartime. What you may not know is, members of the Armed Forces also perform hundreds of jobs every day at home and abroad to keep military operations running smoothly. Vehicles need to be serviced, power has to be maintained and deadlines have to be met. Especially in peacetime, a soldier’s day is not unlike that of any other unskilled professional in this regard. Each branch of the military offers hundreds of jobs for soldiers, sailors and airmen to choose from based on their interest and skills. Enlistees are given the opportunity to select different job fields and, while they don’t always get their first choice, they are matched according to their list and current needs. A sampling of available military skilled job categories includes (not all jobs available in all branches): • Communications Technicians. • Avionics. • Computers. • Electronics. • Telecommunications. • Construction, building and extraction. • Construction carpenters. • Plumbers. • Electricians. • Construction equipment operators. (building and highway) • Pipefitters and steam fitters. • Health care practitioners. • Dental hygienists and assistants. • Medical/physician assistants. • Respiratory therapy technicians. • Surgical technologists. 50


• • • • • • • • • • •

Information technology/computer science. Computer programmers. Information security analyst. Database administrator. Mechanic and repair technicians. Aircraft power plant. Welder. CNC programmer. Industrial maintenance. Machinist. Heavy equipment.

not a prerequisite for a career in the military. WHERE CAN I GO? Serving in the U.S. Military can take you literally around the world. Most active military personnel have a list of places they’ve been deployed, some of which put them more in harm’s way than others. Military service can be difficult for families, as soldiers are deployed where they are needed, usually for months at a time. On the other hand, a four-year hitch is roughly equal for the time it takes for an apprenticeship in any skilled field. Former military are not qualified to immediately sit for a journeyman electrician or plumber license, but generally receive credit for their service in formal apprentice programs, which shortens their preparation for the civilian workforce. And, in virtually all other skilled fields, their military training prepares them to enter the labor force right away. Best of all, many military personnel come out of their service with degrees and technical training, without piling up any student loan debt. And a veteran-owned business often has a leg up on other vendors or qualifies for business loans and other programs civilians can’t get.

HOW DO I GET INTO THE RIGHT JOB? The military uses an aptitude test to help new recruits discover which job path is right for them. The Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) was developed by the Department of Defense to measure a person’s strengths, weaknesses and potential for future success. There are two versions of the test: The student ADVAB (also known as ASVAB Career Exploration Program or ASVAB CEP) is given in high schools and community colleges. The enlistment version of the ASVAB is given at a Military Entrance Processing Station (MEPS) once a recruit enlists. WHAT CAN I EARN IN THE MILITARY? The test results don’t dictate what field you go into, but Military benefits are excellent both while you’re in and they give you an idea of what you might be successful at. after you get out. They include: It can often open a door to a field you’ve never considered. • A guaranteed paycheck and cash bonuses. • Education benefits. WHAT HAPPENS NEXT? • Advanced and specialty training. After basic training, you’re sent to tech school to receive • 30 days’ annual paid vacation. the specialized training for your field. The job you choose • Travel. determines the location where you’re sent. • Option for full-time or part-time service. Formal training varies with the job selected and can • Tax-free room, board and allowances. last anywhere from a few weeks to several months. Con- • Health and dental care. tinuing education in the military is commonplace to stay • Use of commissary and military exchange up on new technology and to prepare for changes in job stores. responsibilities. Previous experience in any given field is • Special home loans and discounts.

VIOLA SCHAEFFER AGE: 23 EDUCATION: Armorel High School RANK/UNIT: Corporal, HHC 77th Theater Aviation Brigade SNAPSHOT: Schaeffer considers her life in the Armed Forces a saving grace. It has also provided her with tremendous opportunity, as she has earned her bachelor’s degree while serving and she’s working on her masters in criminal justice.



WHAT IS YOUR BACKGROUND? I would definitely say that’s what saved me was the military. I was born in Panama, Central America, and I was adopted and brought over to America. Being in a military family, we moved a lot. My family is originally from W. Memphis, Arkansas, and Memphis, Tennessee. I graduated out of high school near Blytheville, Arkansas. WHAT HAS THE MILITARY TAUGHT YOU ABOUT YOURSELF? One thing I can say is it taught me how to be a leader. Being in the military, it’s no matter how old you are, it’s about rank and experience. I was put in the forefront. It changed my life. PEOPLE THINK DAY-TO-DAY MILITARY LIFE IS WORLDS APART FROM CIVILIAN LIFE. IS IT? The only difference between the military day-to-day and a civilian is, I don’t have to worry about what clothes I have to pick out. There’s different factors and amenities that the military has that can help someone one way or another. You’re going to either learn more about yourself or learn more about the next person. WHAT’S SOME ADVICE YOU HAVE FOR SOMEONE CONSIDERING ENLISTING? Definitely, if they’re not very athletic or they don’t work out, take your health seriously. Get ready because the runs don’t stop. The waking up at 4:00 or 5:00 in the morning doesn’t stop. Another would be, learn how to be a team player. If you’re an introvert, you’re going to have to learn how to be an extrovert because when you’re in basic training it’s the whole team. If one messes up, everybody messes up. You learn responsibility. You learn how life is not always going to be fair. It’s going to teach you how to mentally be strong.

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Have you ever taken part in a process and thought, “There has to be a better way to do this.” That’s the daily motto of process technicians, employees whose job it is to figure out better ways to produce items through manufacturing. Process technicians help companies make better products in ways that are safer, more efficient and therefore more profitable.

WHAT DOES A PROCESS TECHNICIAN DO? Simply put, process technicians look for ways to build or produce things better. They are trained to look for inefficiencies in production and find ways to improve the process. By assisting industrial engineers, process technologists help integrate workers, machines, materials, information and energy to make a product or provide a service. They prepare machinery and equipment layouts, plan workflows, conduct statistical production studies and analyze production costs. Process technology can be broken down into two main categories: Chemical technician Chemical technicians use laboratory instruments and techniques to help chemists and chemical engineers research, develop, produce and test chemical products and processes. Among their job duties are: • Monitor chemical processes and test the quality of products to make sure that they meet standards and specifications. • Set up and maintain laboratory instruments and equipment. • Troubleshoot production problems or malfunctioning instruments. • Prepare chemical solutions. • Conduct, compile and interpret results of chemical and physical experiments, tests and analyses for a variety of purposes, including research and development. • Prepare technical reports, graphs and charts, and give presentations that summarize their results. Industrial engineering technician Industrial engineering technicians assist industrial engineers in devising efficient systems to make a product or provide a service. Industrial engineering technicians typically do the following: • Suggest revisions to methods of operation, material handling or equipment layout. • Interpret engineering drawings, schematic diagrams 52


and formulas. Industrial Technicians Confer with management or engineering staff to deter- • Lower Range (bottom 10 percent) — mine quality and reliability standards. $33,780 annually/$16.24 per hour • Prepare charts, graphs and diagrams to illustrate work- • Middle Range (median) — flow, routing, floor layouts, how materials are handled $45,190 annually/$21.73 per hour and how machines are used. • Upper Range (top 10 percent) — • Collect data to assist in process improvement activities. $62,540 annually/$30.07 per hour • Study the time and steps workers take to do a task through time and motion studies. WHAT DOES IT TAKE TO BE SUCCESSFUL? CHEMICAL: WHERE DO PROCESS TECHNICIANS WORK? • STEM concepts Process technicians typically work full time and inside, • Critical thinking either in a factory, a lab or some other kind of manufactur- • Information ordering ing setting. They generally work regular business hours; • Monitoring however, some overtime may be required to meet project • Deductive/inductive reasoning deadlines. Process technicians may also work irregular hours to monitor laboratory or plant operations during INDUSTRIAL: second and third shifts. • Mechanical skills • Engineering/technology concepts WHAT’S THE JOB OUTLOOK? • Production/processing concepts According to the Department of Labor, there were 670 • Mathematics chemical technician jobs in state in 2016, a category that is • Design expected to grow to 730 in 10 years. This is nearly double • Complex problem solving the rate of growth nationally. Additionally, there were 350 industrial engineering technician jobs in Arkansas in 2016 and that number is expected to increase 6 percent to 370 jobs by 2026. This is also well above the national rate of growth for this same job. •

HOW MUCH CAN I MAKE? Chemical technicians • Lower range (bottom 10 percent) — $27,920 annually/$13.42 per hour • Middle Range (median) — $42,360 annually/$20.36 per hour • Upper range (top 10 percent) — $70,210 annually/$33.75

The welding profession is one of nearly unlimited opportunity. Welders work in a wide range of industries and work environments, are in high demand, command good wages and even launch their own businesses. For a person with the right skills and work ethic, welding is one of the most stable skilled professions one can have.

WHAT DOES A WELDER DO? In the simplest terms, welders are skilled professionals who join two pieces of metal using heat and gas in order to seamlessly and permanently bond them. The type of welding used on any given job depends on the materials. Welding is the most durable way to join two parts, using electrical currents to create heat and bond metals together. In all, there are more than 100 different processes that a welder can use, four of the most common being: GMAW (Gas Metal Arc Welding) • More commonly known as MIG Imetal inert welding, this type is among the most easily mastered type of welding. • Acceptable for fusing mild steel, stainless steel and aluminum. Arc Welding • Arc welding is also known as SMAW (Shielded Metal Arc Welding) or stick welding. • The most basic type of welding. • Commonly used in manufacturing, construction and repair work. FCAW (Flux-Cored Arc Welding) • Developed as a lower-cost, high-speed alternative to stick welding. • Known for being easy to learn. • Commonly used to bond iron and steel; used in manufacturing, construction and repair work. GTAW (Gas Tungsten Arc Welding) • Commonly known as TIG (Tungsten Inert Gas) welding. • Delivers a superior finish without requiring a lot of finish sanding or grinding. • Very complex process, requiring a welder with a lot of experience to perform well. WHAT’S NEW? Most people have at least a general idea of what a welder is and what he or she does. But did you know there are two related processes that perform many of the same functions as welders, but using different tools and bonding elements? These jobs aren’t new, exactly, but most people outside the industry haven’t heard of them. Cutters • Utilize heat from an electric arc, plasma stream or

burning gases to cut and trim metal objects to spe- job, meaning a general slowdown in building projects can cific dimensions. mean periods of unemployment. The more mobile a welder • Cutters also take apart large objects such as ships, is, the more easily he or she may find additional projects. railroad cars, boilers and aircraft using special highstrength cutting materials. HOW MUCH CAN I MAKE? Solderers/brazers • Lower range wages (bottom 10 percent) — $26,080 • Use heat to join two or more metal objects together. annually/$12.54 per hour • Soldering and brazing are similar, except that the • Middle range wages (median) — $36,620 annutemperature used in soldering is lower. ally/$17.61 per hour • Soldering is used to make electrical and electronic • Higher range wages (top 10 percent) — $60,460 annucircuit boards, such as computer chips. ally/$29.07 per hour • Brazing is used to connect cast iron and thinner metals that would warp under the high temperature of welding. WHAT DOES IT TAKE TO BE SUCCESSFUL? WHERE DO WELDERS WORK? • Physical strength and dexterity As the most common and most permanent way of join- • Vision ing pieces together, welding is a trade that performs work • Attention to detail as a stand-alone component of larger projects or is used within another trade. HOW DO I LEARN THE CRAFT? Plumbers are generally trained in the basics of welding Some high schools have beginner welding programs as in order to perform pipefitting tasks. Other industries use part of automotive or shop classes, which can give students welding as part of their overall operations, including body a head start on their education. shops, sheet metal, shipyards and boiler making operations. Most welders have a high school diploma or equivaA welder may work on a building or bridge construction lent and a professional certification, which can be earned site (either indoors or outdoors), which exposes them to through a community college, a private training program working in all kinds of weather. They may also be required or welding courses sponsored by industry groups or trade to work several stories above the ground on steel building unions. structures or bridges. Welding programs can be a few months long or they Other welders work in a metal shop or garage-like area, can be an apprenticeship lasting four or five years. They which is generally climate controlled. Still other welders can be full-time classes like any other college curriculum work in a factory or industrial setting where they handle or, in the case of many apprenticeship-type training promaintenance and fabrication tasks as they come up. grams, are held one or two nights a week while the student Welders generally work full time and it’s not uncommon works full time for a welding company, thereby also learnfor them to work a lot of overtime to stay ahead of produc- ing on the job. tion schedules, particularly in construction. In some indusAnother advantage of the work-study nature of apprentrial settings, welders may be employed on overnight shifts. ticeship programs is most employers pay for the training as an employee benefit. WHAT’S THE JOB OUTLOOK? There were 5,190 welder jobs in Arkansas in 2016 and the industry is expected to grow at a healthy pace. The U.S. Department of Labor predicts by 2026 the number of welder jobs in Arkansas will grow 9 percent, which is nearly double the national average. Some welders move from construction job to construction BLUEPRINT | 2019 | arktimes.com 53

One thing about a union, you’re going to have to put out effort. It’s not going to be given to you. Just work hard is what was always told to me and it’s what I always try to tell every generation. Some of us are at a disadvantage but we can’t let that make who we are. You have to figure out who you are and what you want to do and then go for that. Clint Sherman, industrial painter International Union of Painters & Allied Trades What I’ve learned starting off as a new person in welding was to always listen to what the other person had to say and at least try to take their advice because it saved me a lot of work in the long run, actually stopping, listening and considering what they had to say instead of doing what you think or what you’ve learned previously. There’s many different ways of doing something right. Bethany Brooks, welder Caterpillar Inc., North Little Rock My parents didn’t have money to send me to college and I didn’t have the grades to get into college, so military was my only option. These kids go out there and get these student loans because they feel like they have to go to college, but there are so many skills out there, you don’t necessarily have to. There are so many trade schools out there. You can make really good money just by going to trade school. Gary Yancey, generator tech RP Power, North Little Rock We get a lot of people that have never even been in the trades. As long as they come in and go through an OSHA program, they have insight of what’s going on. We get people all the time that never had that background or knew anything about it. They just heard they could get onto the union and get benefits. Anybody can do it as long as their mindset is right. Jason Neeley, millwright/rigger Millwright Local Union 216, Russellville The advantage to a union is it’s more reliable, you’re more likely to have a job throughout the entire thing. There’s a bigger group of people, the retirement’s better. You’re just better taken care of. Todd Lane, sheet metal apprentice Little Rock Sheet Metal/Sheet Metal Workers Local 36



School is important, but there are more things out there than a four-year degree. I’ll be coming out of school with a job that will pay me over $100,000 a year right out of college. There are more options than a four-year college. Holly Metz, Steel Tech Zekelman Industries/Atlas Tube, Blytheville One thing I emphasize to my apprentices is if you don’t have the math skills, this is going to be difficult at best because you build off that core. Everything that we do deals with math, from measurements to volumes to calculating areas. Whether you’re figuring up a concrete wall or measuring up for job takeoffs to order parts for a commercial job, everything you do, square footage for drywall, for roofs, flooring, everything that we do revolves around math. Jeremy Hughes, business representative Central South Carpenters Regional Council There’s an old adage, on time is late and early is on time. Sometimes it’s a challenge teaching somebody if work starts at 7 doesn’t mean you show up at 6:59 and you want to stand around for 10 minutes and BS about last night’s ballgame. At 7 you’re on your feet and ready to go. Lindsay Brown, business representative International Union of Painters & Allied Trades DC 80/LU 424 Utilize downstream thinking every day. Think two steps ahead. Pay attention to what you’re doing. Adapt, improvise and overcome. Paul Lowell, east division service manager RP Power We have iPads in the field every day. We have computers in the field every day. Plans are no longer always paper, a lot of them are online. Changes are made that way. My whole department operates online now. Everything the employee does, from the application to enrolling in benefits, everything is done electronically. It’s a necessity for employees to have those skills. Tina Davis, vice president/employee services director Nabholz Construction

So many students aren’t aware of the potential available to them in [technical] fields. A lot of them think there’s just one direction I need to go if I want to have a sustainable family wage in the future. Well, that’s really not true. All of the technical fields can provide tremendous opportunity to students and they can take them with them whatever direction they go. Nell Bonds North Arkansas College Technology is becoming more and more. Right now, I work full time on a job site for the new SouthW. Little Rock High School, and I think there are maybe two full-sized sets of paper plans. Everything else is on the computer. A lot of design is done by 3D modeling now. We have a department in Nabholz in virtual design where one of the guys is a drone pilot; he comes out and flies a drone around the site once a month. There are so many options that you would never even relate to the construction industry per se. Beth Maris, project manager Nabholz Construction If you’re the new one on the job you get more of the grunt work until you get the seniority under your belt and the experience to go with it. It’s all about learning. Most of the time when new people come in, they think that they know everything already and they’re not willing to learn new techniques or pay attention to those who are trying to help them excel. Keep an open mind and be willing to learn from those that have been doing this a long time. [Painting is] a lot more complicated than people realize. Chelsie Roach International Union of Painters & Allied Trades

MAKE YOUR WORK MATTER. THE CATERPILLAR EXPERIENCE When you work at Caterpillar, you create sustainable products that build a better world. Every person on our team matters. Because our employees enable our success, we empower theirs. We help our people sharpen their skills, gain experience, and develop professionally. Hard work is rewarded — we offer competitive benefits and wages. At Caterpillar, build more than machines. Build a career. facebookcom/catcareers

What do you want from your workplace? At Caterpillar, we know our success is powered by our employees. That’s why we give our team what it needs to thrive.




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Facebook.com/CaterpillarNorthLittleRock Caterpillar is an Equal Opportunity Employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, protected veteran status or disability status. All qualified individuals – including minorities, females, veterans and individuals with disabilities – are encouraged to apply. Caterpillar is not currently hiring individuals for this position who now or in the future require sponsorship for employment based non-immigrant and immigrant visas. However, as a global company, Caterpillar offers many job opportunities outside of the U.S. which can be found through our employment website www.caterpillar.com/careers.

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