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TECH CAREERS IN THE NEW WORLD OF INDUSTRY AND MANUFACTURING

PLUS!

ADVICE FROM PEERS & PROS SPONSORED BY

ARKANSAS STATE CHAMBER OF COMMERCE ARKANSAS ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT COMMISSION


WORK FORCE

Learn how you can get a great paying job in manufacturing. Visit ArkansasEDC.com/raise

Arkansas Manufacturing Solutions, a division of the Arkansas Economic Development Commission, is helping transform traditional workforce training to meet the needs of manufacturers in our state. That’s because new technology and industry innovations are transforming what a manufacturing job is. Today’s technology-based manufacturing operations require individuals with sharp technical and computer programming skills, which means a wider range of job opportunities and better pay are now available. And for Arkansas, it means the creation locally of a highly-skilled workforce to be reckoned with in the global marketplace.

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


IN THIS ISSUE 6 Welcome 8 Skilled Careers Offer Arkansans Big Pay, Multiple Opportunities 10 Be Pro Be Proud Paying Dividends, Generating Excitement in Arkansas 12 Experience, Love of Trade Leads Some to Business Ownership 14 Education and Training Key to Meeting Future Workforce Needs 16 Tech Career Information 18 Guide to Apprenticeship Programs 19 North Little Rock to Launch Technical Curriculum 20 North Little Rock’s Center of Excellence Prepares Students for Future Careers 21 Aviation Maintenance Careers Are Flying High 22 Energy Industry Expanding, Demand for Skilled Workers is High 24 Think You Know the Steel Industry? Think Again 26 Diesel Careers Provide Stability, Earning Power 62 Advice From the Pros THE PROFESSIONS

28 Electrician 31 Agri-Timber 32 Allied Health Professional 34 Aviation Technology 36 CAD/CAM Drafter 38 Carpenter

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BLUEPRINT | 2018 | ARKANSAS TIMES

40 CNC Operator 42 Computer Coder/ Computer Programmer

44 Diesel Technician 46 Heavy Equipment Operator 48 HVACR Technician

50 Industrial Maintenance 52 Machinist 54 U.S. Military Careers in the Trades 56 Plumber 58 Process Technology 60 Welder


BE PRO BE PROUD PROGRESS (LAUNCH THROUGH 3Q 2018)

41,969 387

12,303

220

BLUEPRINT | 2018 | 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 their families as a way to introduce more young people to a variety of lucrative tech careers that require less than a fouryear 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. Today they 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. Every young person who enters into a skilled career is helping to build a stronger Arkansas, one project at a time.

WORK FORCE

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

ArkansasEDC.com | Mfgsolutions.org | 501-682-117 BE PRO BE PROUD PROGRESS (LAUNCH THROUGH 3Q 2018) AEDC 33853.AR TIMES BLUEPRINT AD.R2.indd 1

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BLUEPRINT | 2018 | ARKANSAS TIMES


ALAN LEVERITT Publisher alan@arktimes.com EDITORIAL DWAIN HEBDA Editor MANDY KEENER Creative Director mandy@arktimes.com

LITTLE ROCK WATER RECLAMATION AUTHORITY

OFFERS A RANGE OF FULFILLING

ADVERTISING PHYLLIS A. BRITTON Sales Director phyllis@arktimes.com ACCOUNT EXECUTIVES BROOKE WALLACE brooke@arktimes.com LEE MAJOR lee@arktimes.com NATHAN STAMP nathan@arktimes.com TERRELL JACOB terrell@arktimes.com HANNAH PEACOCK Advertising Assistant hannah@arktimes.com PRODUCTION WELDON WILSON Production Manager/Controller ROLAND R. GLADDEN Advertising Traffic Manager LARISSA GUDINO Advertising Coordinator

At Little Rock Water

Reclamation Authority, our diverse employee base is our greatest asset. From plumbers to welders to computer programmers, we’re

proud to fuel our city’s economy with more than 100 different job classifications and lasting career opportunities. To learn more about technical careers with Little Rock Water Reclamation Authority, visit us at lrwra.com/employment.

GRAPHIC DESIGNERS MIKE SPAIN KATIE HASSELL OFFICE STAFF ROBERT CURFMAN IT Director LINDA PHILLIPS Billing/Collections 2017 RECIPIENT

ANITRA HICKMAN Circulation Director 11 CLEARWATER DR. LITTLE ROCK, AR 72204

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LRWRA.COM

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501. 376. 2903

BLUEPRINT | 2018 | arktimes.com 7


Skilled careers offer Arkansans big pay, multiple opportunities BY DWAIN HEBDA

L

ike a lot of high school kids, Juan Lopez didn’t know what his future looked like after graduation, but he knew a four-year degree wasn’t appealing. “When I was in high school, I had a teacher who was talking about college and his debt and tuition and how much that costs,” he said. “Everyone told me I should go to college, but you know, college isn’t for everybody.” Lopez, 19, had spent summers working construction with his uncles and had become pretty handy at it. Then, one day, the teacher in his construction technology class made an announcement that would change the course of his life. “Action Mechanical came to my high school and talked to the principal, and the principal talked to my teacher, saying they was looking for guys right out of high school,” Lopez remembered. “My teacher gave us applications to Action, and we all applied.” “It was already towards the end of the year. I wasn’t sure what I was going to do after high school. This opportunity came up and I had to take it. I came in for an interview, graduated Friday, was here Monday morning.” Action enrolled Juan in a plumbing apprenticeship program, a plumbing school that complements what he’s learning on the job. In addition to earning a wage, he’s learning the finer points of his trade a couple of nights a week with no out-of-pocket expense. “You know how with college, you can be in debt with student loans?” he said. “Well, here at Action they are paying for your tuition 100 percent, and you have a full-time job. That sounded pretty good to me.” Lopez is the first to admit there’s a lot he has to learn about his chosen profession, and just like any other classwork, it’s not always easy. But he’s determined to build a career out of his opportunity and advises other students to do the same.

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“I’d tell them, first, what do you like to do? Do you like to work hands-on?” he said. “If they’re still in high school, I’d tell them to work hard, don’t give up. Make sure you have good grades. “You also have to keep your attitude and keep going at it every day. Just try. It’s not easy, it’s very different from high school. I work at it hard every day. If this is what I’m supposed to do, then I’m trying my best. I’m doing it. This is a great opportunity and if you really wanna do it, go for it.” ARKANSAS IS HIRING The story of Juan Lopez is music to the ears of Arkansas’s industrial and manufacturing communities, who, along with government agencies and trade groups, have been working overtime to attract more young people to skilled careers. As word is getting out about the demand for plumbers, electricians, carpenters and other skilled tradespeople – as well as the great pay and benefits these jobs command – more young people are starting to give these jobs a serious look. According to Randy Zook, president and CEO of the Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce, there’s still plenty of room for more young people to get on board. “Nationally, they’re right at seven million open jobs and only about six million people available,” he said. “Skilled and technical careers are screaming for talent. We’ve still got at least 55,000 to 60,000 open jobs across the state. A lot of them are just normal turnover, about half of them. But about half of them still are driven by the skills deficiency of the people available.” One factor in the lack of skilled workers is the aging of the current workforce. As these workers get closer and closer to retirement, there are not enough younger workers to move into their jobs.

“The fact is, this is the strongest economy in the history of the country,” Zook said. “If (a company) can’t find the people it needs, you simply don’t take the orders that you might be able to take and you don’t serve the customers you might be able to serve. “As a result, companies are paying higher wages. They’re paying higher salaries. There is wage growth across the state, in fact, we’re doing a little bit better than the national average.” SCHOOLS, COLLEGES RESPOND The state’s educational institutions have responded with programs and curricula that mirror the needs of the business community. Arkansas Northeastern College is gaining results through its innovative programs. “There’s so many good-paying careers out there that don’t require a four-year degree,” said Dr. James Shemwell, president. “In many cases they don’t even require an associate’s degree. They require something two years or less. Our graduates are living proof.” ANC’s degrees command higher salaries than any institution in the state except UAMS’ medical students. Graduates average $51,624 across all of the school’s two-year associate’s degrees and almost twice that for the school’s steelmaking graduates. Even the school’s certificate programs, almost all of which only take one semester to complete, earn well. “The average for our certificate of proficiency (CP) graduates is $40,133,” Shemwell said. “That’s higher than

the state’s bachelor degree average. Our construction CP graduates are coming out making $57,836, first year. That’s with one semester of school.” The school offers cutting-edge curricula through its technology programs. Specialized courses cover everything from steel cutting to welding, HVAC, construction and aviation maintenance. Its Arkansas Steel Making Academy and ANC Tech Center provide students the opportunity to prepare for a career. POSITIVE SIGNS FOR THE FUTURE College programs cooperating with local industry is having a positive effect on the shortage of workers, said Mike Preston, executive director of the Arkansas Economic Development Commission. “I think we are moving in the right direction,” he said. “Communities have really taken it upon themselves to partner with industry, in and around their areas, to identify the skills gaps.” Preston said developing a workforce is not only important to meet the needs of today’s companies; it is absolutely critical to attracting new companies to create jobs tomorrow. “Anytime we sit down with a company that’s looking to locate here, whether they’re coming from another state or another country, the first concern and first question they’re going to have is about workforce,” Preston said. “What we’ve been able to do is take things like the Arkansas Steel Academy and other programs like it and we lead with that, using that as a selling point for them to come here. “We know the people are out there. We know we have people who are still unemployed or under-employed, and we have some that are not even in the labor participation rate. It’s going to take time and a lot of effort from a lot of folks to get them in. We are seeing progress.” BLUEPRINT | 2018 | arktimes.com 9


Be Pro Be Proud paying dividends, generating excitement in Arkansas BY DWAIN HEBDA

W

hen Be Pro Be Proud began in 2016, it was meant to capture the imagination of high school students in Arkansas, inspiring them to look at skilled careers in desperate need of new recruits all across the state. As the program enters its third year, the initiative is more successful than anyone could have predicted. “To date, we have 42,500 students who have come through the truck,” said Andrew Parker, who heads up the program for the Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce. “About 15,000 of those were in 2018. To date we have 387 tour stops and about 150 of those are this year. There have been between 150 to 160 tour stops this year, where we average about 20 students per class, six to seven classes per day.” Most of the stops for the custom-made rig have been at middle schools and high schools, as well as major events throughout the year. “There is fair number of job fairs and events like the Little Rock Air Force Base air show,” Parker said. “They had a STEM event for students on the first day of the air show and we literally had more than 1,000 kids come through on that one day alone. The feedback from the teachers has been extraordinary.” Parker said the thing that makes the Be Pro Be Proud 18-wheeler so impactful is the way that it engages students, letting them put their hands on tools and, through interac-

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BLUEPRINT | 2018 | ARKANSAS TIMES

tive multi-media displays, learn what it takes to work as a welder, plumber, electrician and in other skilled careers. “It’s too difficult for 40,000 students across a state to go visit a manufacturing plant or a construction site or a trucking company,” he said. “Be Pro Be Proud brings it all to the students. The presence generates a lot of conversation, and we have heard directly from companies and teachers that students are responding to the conversation. It is doing what we hoped it’d do.” Parker said companies are already gaining interns and new employees from among those who have visited the rig. Between its marketing efforts on social media and wordof-mouth advertising, interest in hosting the 18-wheeler has never been stronger. “We have nearly the first half of 2019 fully booked, really filling up the fall of 2019, and are booking 2020,” Parker said. In March, the State Chamber will unveil a new Be Pro Be Proud rig with four times the interactive space of the current one. The new mobile workshop will feature a 53-foot trailer with two expanding sides, boosting learning space to 1,000 square feet. “We’ve been at this for three years, and you would think that after three years there would start to be some waning of enthusiasm. Instead, I think we’re just getting started,” Parker said. I think it’s literally going to jump off the map. There’s just no telling what this is going to do.”


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BLUEPRINT | 2018 | arktimes.com 11


Experience, love of trade leads some to business ownership BY DWAIN HEBDA

I

f you knew Daniel Menden in high school, you might not have predicted he’d wind up as a home builder. “Ah, man, my first job, I did not know how to read a tape measure,” he said, noting that what he lacked in technical skill he more than made up for in interest and willingness to learn. “This was just kind of something I always knew I wanted to do. Even at a young age, I was always very interested in it. Never knew what I was going to have to do to get there, just honestly started working and started enjoying the crafts and learning it.” Today, Menden and his wife Jennifer are owners of Menco Construction in Sherwood, a company that designs and build homes. It’s the latest chapter in a professional story that has seen him learn most everything in the carpentry business by doing, both before and after he became his own boss. “I went straight from high school into construction as a trim carpenter. I was doing interior finish work,” he said. “I learned other carpentry and moved on to getting some of my own employees, and we started doing vinyl siding, we started doing tile. I became a superintendent at one point, about 2005. Learned a lot of stuff doing that as a superintendent for another builder, and then when he retired we started our business.” Being one’s own boss through entrepreneurship is one career path within the trades—and a rewarding one. For almost any skill you can name – plumbing, electrical, carpentry, diesel technology and others – there are people who have turned that skill into a lucrative business. And the vast majority of them started out just like Menden, perfecting their craft firsthand. “Honestly, you can’t put a price tag on the training that I had,” he said. “There’s nothing more important than what I did in every single part of all of those jobs. It allows me now to be able to talk to the guys. I can understand what they’re saying

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BLUEPRINT | 2018 | ARKANSAS TIMES

and, a lot of them, I can even show them how to do their job better because I’ve done that process a lot of times more than they have.” Scott Joslin is another entrepreneur who parlayed the formula of hard work and technical expertise into a successful company. His plumbing firm, Pinnacle Valley Plumbing, provides the plumbing for new residential construction. “My grandfather was a plumber,” he said. “I started with him, and I went into apprenticeship school at 18. I turned out at 22, got my master’s license at 24 and opened my own business in 2006.” Joslin said that, like a lot of people, he wanted his own shop for the financial rewards. But he also said there are additional challenges that come with having your name on the door that you don’t have to think about when you’re working for someone else. “As far as the construction goes, I definitely put in a full day,” he said. “Once the workday is over, naturally, there [are] usually more hours a week that I have to do business stuff – collect checks, put in new bids.” “Being a boss who works with the employees is another challenge. I’ve learned I can’t be too assertive. Through the years I have had some good employees who I lost my temper with and it cost me. I ended up doing it myself. But at the same time, being the boss does mean that you do have to stand up and get out of that comfort zone sometimes and say, ‘This is how it works.’” Joslin said that, while there’s a lot to learn, there’s no real trick to owning a successful business. Most of it is the common sense of doing the right thing, delivering quality and working hard. Master those and good things will follow. “The thing that I was pursuing the most was a good living with retirement, and I’ve been able to do that,” he said. “With construction, while you will never ever get rich off of the strength of your back, you can make a big living as long as you go to work every single day.”


MAKE MAKE MAKE MAKE YOUR YOUR YOUR YOUR WORK WORK WORK WORK MATTER. MATTER. MATTER. MATTER. MAKE YOUR MAKE WORK YOUR MATTER. WORK MATTER.

When When you you work work at at Caterpillar, Caterpillar, you you create create sustainable sustainable products products that that build build a a better better world. Every person on our team matters. We help our people sharpen their gain When you work at Caterpillar, you create sustainable products that build better world. Every person on our team matters. We help our people sharpen their askills, skills, gain When you work at Caterpillar, you create sustainable products that build a better experience and develop professionally. Hard work is rewarded. At Caterpillar, build world. Every person on our team matters. We help our people sharpen their skills, experience and develop professionally. Hard work is rewarded. At Caterpillar, build gain world. Every person on our ateam We help ouris people sharpen their skills,build gain When you work at develop Caterpillar, youmatters. create sustainable products thatAtbuild a better more than machines. Build experience and Hard work rewarded. Caterpillar, more than machines. Build professionally. a career. career. experience develop professionally. Hard is rewarded. At Caterpillar, buildgain world. person on our team matters. Wework help our people sharpen their skills, moreEvery thanand machines. Build a career. more than machines. Build a career. Hard work is rewarded. At Caterpillar, build experience and develop professionally. more than machines. Build a career.

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team what it needs to thrive.

Caterpillar is an Equal Opportunity Employer. All qualified applicants twitter.com/caterpillarjobs © 2018 Caterpillar • All Rights facebook.com/catcareers world. Every person on our team matters. helpEmployer. ourwithout people sharpen their gainRights Caterpillar an Equal We Opportunity All regard qualified applicants 2018skills, Caterpillar will receiveisconsideration for employment to race, color, © Reserved • Printed•inAllUSA will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, Reserved • Printed inBUILT USA FOR IT, religion, sex, national origin, protected veteran status or disability CAT, CATERPILLAR, Caterpillar is an Equal Opportunity Employer. All qualified applicants © 2018 Caterpillar • All Rights experience and develop professionally. Hard is rewarded. Caterpillar, build religion, sex, national origin,work protected veteran status orAt disability CAT, CATERPILLAR, BUILT FOR IT, status. All qualified individuals – including minorities, females, veterans their respective logos, will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, Reserved • Printed in USA Caterpillar is an Equal Opportunity Employer. All qualified applicants © 2018 Caterpillar • All “Caterpillar Rights status. All qualified individuals – including minorities, females, veterans their respective logos, “Caterpillar and individuals with disabilities – are encouraged to apply. Caterpillar Yellow,” the “Power Edge”trade religion, sex, national origin, protected veteran status or disability CAT, CATERPILLAR, BUILT FOR IT, will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, Yellow,” more than machines. Build aand career. Reserved • Printed inEdge”trade USA – are encouraged apply. is notindividuals currently with hiringdisabilities individuals for this position to who nowCaterpillar or in the dress as the well“Power as corporate and

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Caterpillar Caterpillar North North Little Little Rock Rock is is growing, growing, and we’d love for you to join team! Caterpillar Little Rockour is growing, and we’d loveNorth for you to join our team! If you want a challenging career, a Caterpillar North Little Rock is growing, for you to career, join ourin Ifand you we’d wantlove a challenging inteam! a safe, clean, climate-controlled and If we’d love for you to join our team! you want a challenging career, in a safe, clean, climate-controlled Caterpillar North Littlethe Rock is growing, environment, place for you! If you want awe’re challenging career, in a safe, clean, climate-controlled environment, we’re the place for you! andOur we’d love for youuptoofjoin our team! team made assemblers, safe,is clean, climate-controlled environment, we’re the place Our team is made up of assemblers, If you want awelders, challenging career,for in you! a painters, machinists, and environment, we’re the place for you! Oursafe, team is made up of assemblers, painters, welders, machinists, and clean, climate-controlled logistics // quality personnel. Our team is made up ofmachinists, assemblers, painters, welders, logistics quality personnel. environment, we’re the place for you!and With two new products coming painters, welders, machinists, and / quality personnel. With two newup products coming Our team islogistics made ofexciting assemblers, in 2019 and 2020, it’s an time logistics / quality personnel. Withwelders, two it’s new products in painters, 2019 and 2020, an exciting coming time machinists, and to be part of Caterpillar! two new products coming in With 2019logistics and 2020, it’s an exciting time to be/part of Caterpillar! quality personnel. in 2019 and 2020, it’s an exciting time to beproducts part of Caterpillar! With twoto new coming Are you ready matters? totobebuild partwhat of Caterpillar! Are you ready build matters? in 2019 and 2020, it’s anwhat exciting time Are you ready build matters? to betopart of what Caterpillar! Are you ready to build what matters?

CATERPILLAR.COM/CAREERS CATERPILLAR.COM/CAREERS CATERPILLAR.COM/CAREERS CATERPILLAR.COM/CAREERS CATERPILLAR.COM/CAREERS

Are you ready to build what matters?

Caterpillar NorthBLUEPRINT Little Rock is growing, | 2018 | arktimes.com 13 and we’d love for you to join our team!


Education and training key to meeting future workforce needs BY DWAIN HEBDA

T

he first step toward any skilled job is getting the right training. In Arkansas, there are several paths to take to get the training you need, depending on the job you want.

employer pays for them to attend apprentice school. This means you learn your skill with no out-of-pocket expense, rather than racking up student debt. “The beauty of an apprenticeship over a college education is that it’s an earn-whileyou-learn scenario,” said Ron Baker, training director with International Brotherhood ON-THE-JOB TRAINING of Electrical Workers Local 295, in Little Rock. “You’ll be going to school in the eveOne training method is simply to learn as you go, under the direction of a co-worker nings, one night a week typically, and occasionally twice a week. But then you work a or supervisor in your career field. On-the-job training is a fact of life in the working 40-hour-a-week job. So, you earn a paycheck while you’re going to school.” world, but what many companies are doing now is investing the time and resources Apprentices learn under experienced craftspeople while on the job and attend class to educate their employees in a more formal, organized manner, partnering with an to further improve their skills. This usually means one or two nights a week, for four apprenticeship program or a two-year school. or five years. Russell Baggett joined Action Mechanical nearly 13 years ago as a welder. Shortly “Your first-year guy comes in and he’s green,” said Kathy Fulks, executive director into his time there, his supervisor came to him with a suggestion. for Arkansas Construction Education Foundation, which operates apprenticeship pro“My boss at the time approached me and says, ‘Hey, we can offer you a plumbing grams at locations statewide. “Companies train them not only in the job but also the career if you want to start as a plumber first-year apprentice, work your way up, go to company culture. Then they progress upwards. The further along they go the more school,’” Baggett said. “He said, ‘We’ll pay for that for free. You get a journeyman’s skillsets they get, their knowledge increases.” card out of it and you got a career in plumbing.’ I said, ‘Sign me up.’” At the completion of apprenticeship training, individuals must pass a test to earn Baggett not only doubled his basic technical credentials, but he’s gone on to get their professional license – in the electrical and plumbing industries, these start at jouradditional plumbing certifications, all on the company’s dime. As his skill and expe- neyman level, with an option to advance to master level. A journeyman electrician or rience grew, so did his opportunities for career advancement, including moving into plumber can work on more complicated jobs without supervision; master designation management where he now teaches others their roles as he was once taught his. is required to open one’s own business. “My typical day is always changing, never the same,” he said. “It’s always random Enrollment in Fulks’ program has grown 15 percent, year over year, and the organievery day. It’s a different challenge every day. It’s a very challenging trade.’’ zation is constantly updating their materials to keep up with industry needs. “We noticed in talking to some of our apprentices and some employers that what APPRENTICESHIPS we were teaching wasn’t relevant for all their people,” she said. “So we added a new An apprenticeship is an educational program that combines classroom instruction occupation, industrial electrician. It’s more geared for companies that are involved with on-the-job training. A person is hired by a firm – let’s say a factory – and their with maintenance in industrial settings. The underlying theories are still the same, but 14

BLUEPRINT | 2018 | ARKANSAS TIMES


“The beauty of an apprenticeship over a college education is that it’s an earnwhile-you-learn scenario ... you earn a paycheck while you’re going to school.” —Ron Baker, training director, IBEW Local 295 Little Rock

industrial guys get a little bit of the instrumentation part, they get a little bit more involved in the motor side of things and how to program extrusion lines and conveyor belt systems.” Baker said the advantages of apprenticeship training and having a skill are gaining the trades more favor, but there’s still a long way to go. “We’ve all been taught that we should go finish college, and I think vocationally and at the high school level these guys are not steered toward something alternative to that method,” he said. “There are a lot of people that go to college for one year and decide it’s not for them. We’ve worked really hard on that; we’ve gone to conferences, we’ve met with high school counselors, we’ve done all kinds of stuff to try to convince them that some people need a secondary path. We have made some progress on that but it’s a mindset that’s hard to change.” TWO-YEAR COLLEGES In Arkansas, there’s a wide variety of two-year schools where students can learn a certain skill or technology that’s in demand. “There’s so many good paying careers out there that don’t require a four-year degree,” said Dr. James Shemwell, president of Arkansas Northeastern College in Blytheville. “In many cases they don’t even require an associate’s degree; they require something two years or less.” Arkansas has 22 two-year colleges, which operate 30 additional locations, called satellite campuses. Arkansas Community Colleges (ACC) is a partner

with two major work force training programs. The Arkansas Apprenticeship Pathway Initiative provides apprenticeship training at Arkansas State University’s Mountain Home and Newport campuses, National Park College in Hot Springs, and South Arkansas Community College in El Dorado. The other program, Arkansas Sector Partnership, can be found at 12 community colleges in Arkansas and helps individuals who have been laid off from one company gain employment with another by providing a variety of services, including job retraining. The state’s two-year colleges are investing in cutting-edge facilities and programs specifically designed to prepare students for skilled positions. Some good examples are the College of Technology at UAM Crossett and Arkansas Delta Training and Education Consortium (ADTEC), located at five community colleges in eastern Arkansas. All of these programs operate in partnership with area employers to stay current and keep up with advancements in the field. “You’re only as good as your product, and our product is a skilled trainee,” Shemwell said. “We have 15 different companies that offer different paid internship opportunities, where the students go to class two days a week and we structure the classes so they can get their schoolwork in on those two days, and then they work. So they’ve got a little bit of money coming in, they get a chance to try that job and if they decide they don’t want to do this, well great. You’ve decided that your freshman year, and you’ve still got that wiggle room to adjust.”

Associated Builders and Contractors christens $1m training center

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he Arkansas chapter of Associated Builders and Contractors recently opened a 7,700 square foot conference center in North Little Rock. The new facility, representing a $1 million investment, is also to be used to provide training in construction trades. “We’ve got many members that are calling us all the time looking for employees and paying good wages,” said Bill Roachell, chapter president. “We’re going to take the opportunity to use this facility to help train those people who need a hand up, who are underemployed or unemployed, as well as students looking to start a career.” Roachell said the first classes to be offered at the facility will give students of all ages a general introduction to the construction trades. “It’s going to be about an eight-week program,” he said. “Students will take OSHA 10 certification training, they’re going to get certified in CPR and first aid. We’re also going to teach them core construction which is really the foundation on any of your apprenticeship or craft training programs. It teaches them the basics about safety, how to read a tape measure, construction math, things like that. “Teaching them that carpentry level one gives them a good foundation of a little bit of everything that they’re going to encounter whenever they’re out on the jobsite.” Once the students complete that course, they may find their way into various construction specialties, such as electrical work, which requires additional training. “They may go through that eight-week training period, then go to work for one of our electrical members,” Roachell said. “That company would then put them into an electrical apprenticeship program.” This type of integrated and cooperative job training among different associations and educational institutions is key to attacking the problem of attracting the attention of young people, Roachell said. “Everyone is coming together and saying, hey, we gotta put our egos and our logos aside and do what’s best for the construction industry,” he said. “We have to make this a collaborative effort to get people involved in the skilled trades. At the end of the day, yeah, we’re all competing, but if we can all come together and fill that labor void, it’s just going to make us all better.” Roachell said efforts such as the new training center are working, as he’s finding more young people taking an interest in skilled careers. “Really neat story, we went over and talked to some high school kids recently,” he said. “We spoke to them, told them about the opportunities in construction, and their teacher called me the next day and said that the principal had 40 students come in his office the next day wanting to get into class to learn about construction trades. That was really, really cool.” BLUEPRINT | 2018 | arktimes.com 15


Tech Career Education Guide for Community Colleges and Technical Institutes

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BLUEPRINT | 2018 | ARKANSAS TIMES

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BLUEPRINT | 2018 | arktimes.com 17


Guide to Apprenticeship Programs for Technical Careers

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North Little Rock to launch technical curriculum

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tarting next school year, North Little Rock High School students will have “When they graduate, they have skills and they have contacts,” Callahan said. the opportunity to earn their way onto a fast track to a career in construc- “They can make a phone call and say, ‘Hey, you remember me? I worked for the last tion, thanks to a new training program. The curriculum is a partnership two summers for you. I did a good job for you and I’d like a job.’ They get hired on between the high school, local industry and central Arkansas colleges. the spot.” “Used to, you had a bunch of young guys doing construction, and now our average The high school coursework will also count for credit at University of Arkansas’s age is mid-to-upper 40s, if not higher,” said Jon Callahan, owner of Jon Callahan Pulaski Tech and Little Rock campuses, giving those students who want to continue Construction and president of the Homebuilders Association of Greater Little Rock. their education after high school a running start. And, coming soon, credit will also “The really skilled guys are getting older, and labor is harder to come by. Younger apply to local apprenticeship programs as well. people aren’t coming up. In ten years, when the 50-year-olds are 60, we’re not going “If they want to get out of high school and go get a job, they can do that,” Callato have anybody to work.” han said. “If they want to get out of high school and become an electrician, under Callahan had a bold idea for a system that would give young people a chance to the apprentice system, they can do that. If they want to get out of high school and start their training in high school. He also envisioned students being able to earn go to UALR or Pulaski Tech and get a degree, they can do that. All the credits that college credit for these classes, cutting down on the amount of time and expense they earned during the program will count towards those schools and that continuthey’d have to spend in the classroom after high school graduation. Finally, he wanted ing education. to create a fast track to employment by getting local construction firms on board. “And they’re not spending $50,000, $60,000 for a generic college degree and “I didn’t want to build a program that would just be a high school program,” he then come out at 21, 22 years old and still not know what they want to do. They’re said. “I wanted it to be a program where everything they did from ninth grade on able to get a job and have some skills that are marketable right now and they’re in was going to help them in their job or to continue their education.” high demand.” Callahan enlisted the help of John Owens, CEO of the North Little Rock Chamber To promote the program, the Homebuilders Association partnered with the North of Commerce who immediately signed onto the idea. He said the concept checked Little Rock School District to provide a careers carnival during middle school regisa lot of boxes as far as the Chamber was concerned. tration. Vendors from different local companies gave students hands-on activities “One of the things that’s going on in the chamber of commerce business across with heavy equipment and answered plenty of questions from parents. the country is involvement in work force development,” Owens said. “We have a “We had a scissor lift where they threw a basketball into a trash can from 25 feet crisis of labor in our country of not having the right people with the right skills to up in the air. They put on the harness and they got to operate the lift to go up,” Calfill the jobs that are available. It’s something that really limits your ability to grow lahan said. “Baldwin and Shell had a giant Jenga game that was six feet tall with and attract new businesses to your community.” big two-by-fours that you had to pull them out and see how things supported each Owens brought in North Little Rock school administrators and local college offi- other. You could drill holes in the concrete, you could bust things and tear things up.” cials on the idea. It wasn’t long before many other people were looking to get involved. “The kids are like, ‘You mean I get to do something cool like this and drive these “The school district embraced it from the very beginning, along with UA Pulaski tractors and do all this for a living and get paid for it? Sweet!’ It was a pretty easy Tech and a number of local builders,” he said. “Then once they joined, some other sell for the kids.” commercial contractors got involved and the thing just grew.” Owens said that as more of these programs pop up around the state, he expects The program will be open to grades 9 through 12, starting in the fall. Students the long-term impact to be substantial. take construction classes in addition to regular coursework, and by junior and “Springdale’s doing something very similar (to our program), as is Pea Ridge, and senior year are eligible for summer jobs/internships working at various construc- Saline County’s working on something now,” Owens said. “It’s not a short-term fix. What tion partner businesses. we’re doing isn’t going to fix the problem tomorrow. It’s a step in the right direction.” BLUEPRINT | 2018 | arktimes.com 19


BLUEPRINT | 2018 | ARKANSAS TIMES

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Adult Education | Arkansas Rehabilitation Services | Career & Technical Education | Office of Skills Development 20

North Little Rock’s Center of Excellence prepares students for future careers

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arla Whisnant, principal of the Center of Excellence Many of the students in this program have had their eyes at North Little Rock High School, is doing a little opened to the full range of possibilities after high school. As preaching. Addressing a group of student leaders, a result, many plan to go to college but just as many plan to she’s talking about the importance of aiming high and setting enter directly into the work force. lofty standards for themselves in whatever they choose to do. “The COE is great because it gives you the sense of work,” She’s passionate about the subject, and it shows. said Brandyn Hile, a 17-year-old senior. “You’re still in school, “We are doing something powerful,” she said, her voice ris- obviously, you still get your education but it gives you the sense ing. “And I do not want it to be good, I want it to be excellent. of going to work and getting ready for that. It prepares you for We are not called the Center of Mediocrity! We are called the the real world more than regular schooling does.” Center of Excellence!” “The normal high school exposure, you do get involved, but Welcome to the Center of Excellence, a school within a school the COE is more centered to what your passions are and what at North Little Rock High that preaches technical skills, creative you want to invest your life into,” said Tori Stevens, a 16-yearthought and above all, aiming high. Next door to Whisnant’s old sophomore. “High school in general just covers what needs meeting, students working in a wood shop build bookcases. to be passed to graduate, like, ‘This is this, and this is this, and Down the hall, a different group is taking a medical professional you’ll forget it in two weeks after you take the test.’ Where in exam and across the hall from that a nurse delivers a lecture the classes I take (at COE) it’s like, you’re going to be using on emergency care. Everywhere you look, someone is coding, this when you get into your career.” printing, designing, sanding, brainstorming, collaborating. Enthusiasm here is high, but Whisnant said technical educa“Our program is 100 percent project-based learning and that’s tion can still be a tough sell for parents, especially for the kids key,” Whisnant said. “It is not a traditional environment. They are who are get interested in a skilled career that doesn’t require not out there memorizing something and regurgitating it for a a four-year degree. test. Team-building exercises, problem-solving. Here’s our task: “College isn’t for everybody, and we need to open their eyes How do we do it? How do we move along? How do we fix this? to that. We present these technical fields to parents and say, “All my kids chose to be in this program. Our goal is they will ‘Look, these are viable, high-dollar careers,’” she said. “It’s a get a high school diploma, but they’ll get a little extra something hard blinder to take off but I think it is coming off now. I think with that diploma, making them more viable in the job market a lot more people are opening their minds and eyes to these straight out of high school.” other careers.”


Aviation maintenance careers are flying high

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an Jenkins always wanted a career in the sky. recruited by FedEx in Memphis, but that opportunities Growing up in Malvern, Arkansas, he at first abound nationwide. The bigger the market, the better thought that meant becoming a pilot, so after the starting pay and benefits are, generally speaking. graduating high school, he attended Henderson State “Entry level students can make $25 to 30 an hour, University and earned his pilot’s license. depending on the market,” he said. “I think the median “My last year (at Henderson State) I swapped majors out there is $29.50 per hour, and that comes out to to be in the aviation management program. I gradu- about $61,000 annually.” ated with a bachelor’s in science and aviation manTraining takes about two years, usually in a comagement,” he said. munity college setting. Aircraft maintenance courses Along the way, Jenkins, 23, discovered a different generally address both power plant (engines and way to be involved with the aviation industry, via turbines) and airframe (everything else besides the aviation maintenance that held just as much pay and engine). Beckham said that, while a knowledge of gencareer advancement as sitting in the cockpit. eral mechanics is helpful, SAU Tech’s course doesn’t “Mechanic work had always intrigued me, and I’ve require a student to have any prior experience in pretty much been interested in aviation since I was that area. really young. So the next logical thing to do was get “The first semester is general curriculum,” she said. my airframe and powerplant degree,” he said. “Basically, if you are a student who always wanted to Most people don’t realize how big the aviation know how to work on cars or airplanes or something maintenance industry is in Arkansas, said Katherine like that, but you’ve never experienced tools or been Beckham, program coordinator and an instructor with out and worked on them, we start you off from the Southern Arkansas Tech in Camden, Arkansas— a basics. We start with a little bit of math, we get into school that boasts the oldest aviation maintenance the physics of why aircraft fly and then we talk about program in the state, dating back 50 years. electricity. We get blueprint readings. We do every“There’s quite a few aviation jobs here in the state thing you need to start your journey.” of Arkansas, a lot that people don’t know about,” she From there, programs look at every aspect of the said. “Of the students who graduated last year, one of aircraft, from creating body panels out of wood, metal them is working at Triumph Airborne Structures in or composites to hydraulics, landing gears and tearing Hot Springs. Another one is working at Envoy Air in down various engines and putting them back together. Little Rock. They’re the business class subsidiary of As such, math and science courses are very helpful American Airlines, and they do business flights out to take in high school, Gray said, as well as welding, of Little Rock. blueprint reading and problem-solving skills. “Our students love those jobs. They get great ben“The skills necessary to be successful in this proefits, they get free flight benefits for themselves and gram are the same skills necessary to be successful their family while they work there. The pay is good. in any program of study,” he said. “You want to have We have students come back and tell us how it’s going a strong work ethic; you’ve got to focus and have the and how much they like it.” determination to stick to it and finish it out. It’s not Pay rates for beginning aviation techs start around something that you can go in and take halfway seri$20 per hour and typically increase to about $30 per ously. You’ve got to commit to it and you’ve got to hour within the first five years of employment. That rate show up. of pay is very likely to increase in the future, because “Our students are in class for about eight hours of the demand for people with these types of skills. a day, four to five days a week and they have got to “Right now, demand is crazy,” Beckham said. “There’s be there for all of it and make up any time that they such a shortage in the aviation-job-related field. By 2022 miss because it’s pretty stringent guidelines on that there’s an estimated shortage of 750,000 aviation main- program. We’re putting people’s lives in their hands.” tenance workers nationwide. It’s something that the As for Ian Jenkins, he’s got big plans for his new older generation got into and they worked and they’re degree. He’d like to start out with an aviation compny retiring out, and now we don’t have many young people in Arkansas to gain experience and then make the that think of it as a career option.” jump to a major airline. Jeff Gray, interim dean of workforce education at “I’d really like to work for a bigger airline, to get Arkansas State University Mid-South in West Mem- the benefits of being a mechanic for them and get to phis, said many of the graduates from his program are travel a lot,” he said.

BLUEPRINT | 2018 | arktimes.com 21


Energy industry expanding, demand for skilled workers is high

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rkansas’s energy industries – in both traditional and newer forms—are expanding, and that growth is providing additional opportunities for workers with the right skills. Bill Halter, CEO of Scenic Hill Solar in Little Rock, said future growth in the industry will come from individual consumers and from commercial accounts, such as cities and businesses turning to solar power to help cut their energy costs. “There are residential deployments in Arkansas and they are growing, but they are growing from a relatively modest base,” he said. “Costs of the systems have come down dramatically; we can deploy a solar power plant today for 20 percent of the cost of what it was seven years ago.” In just three years, Scenic Hill has developed two of the largest commercial solar projects in the state. One, a solar farm in Clarksville, Arkansas, includes 20,000 solar panels over 42 acres to help power the city and the other, 4,000 panels on eight acres, helps power the L’Oreal plant in North Little Rock. “These are multi-million-dollar projects and you can certainly expect to see a lot more of these in the future,” Halter said. Solar programs are also being deployed by traditional utilities companies as a way to broaden their reach to customers. Michael Henderson, executive vice president and chief financial officer of Electric Cooperatives of Arkansas is also president and CEO of Today’s Power, ECA’s solar subsidiary. He said the opportunities for growth in the alternative energy market are considerable, provided the proper expertise is available to staff it. Henderson said electricians are in particularly high demand in the solar industry, as the sun’s rays are being captured and converted to electrical power. “Over half of our employees are licensed electricians, because we want people who know electricity, who know wiring, who can help troubleshoot when we are commissioning the system,” he said. “As for the people putting the racking up, we don’t require electricians for that, we require people who can operate machinery to put pilings in the ground and people who are used to using leveling equipment. On a 10-acre farm, you can’t be more than two inches off of what it’s supposed to be, or the whole system is off. Precision is really critical.” Even while alternative energy sources grow, it won’t be enough to derail traditional electrical companies anytime soon. In fact, Entergy is doubling down on technology in Arkansas, swapping out all of its residential meters for new, smart meters that will provide customers an amazing range of functions. “Entergy, as a corporation, is investing billions of dollars into grid modernization,” said Michael Considine, director of distribution operations. “Over the next three years, we are going to be replacing the meters on all 720,000 customers we have in the state. [The new equipment is] going to be a two-way communication device that will allow us to read the meter a lot more than we currently do.” Recruitment of employees never stops, and Entergy is helping create custom “boot camps” to help ensure new workers get off on the right foot. In partnership with area colleges and other electrical companies, these boot camps will lead to in-house apprenticeship programs that typically last four years.

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This Scenic Hill Solar field sits on eight acres and includes 4,000 panels. It helps power L’Oreal’s plant in North Little Rock.

“Generally, the starting salary in these roles is over $40,000, and you get full benefits, 401k matches, the works. The job is a 24-hour-a-day service, so overtime potential is significant as well.” —Michael Considine, director of distribution operations, Entergy

“We have all come together as a group of employers and determined what we believe the demand is going to be over the next 3 to 5 years for frontline workers,” he said. “We hire someone off the street, and we put them through a 10-week program, almost like going to boot camp in the Army.” Programs at UA Pulaski Tech in North Little Rock, Northwest Arkansas Community College in Bentonville and Arkansas State University in Newport are hoped to be up and running by the start of the 20192020 school year. “Generally, the starting salary in these roles is over $40,000, and you get full benefits, 401k matches, the works,” Considine said. “The job is a 24-hour-a-day service, so overtime potential is significant as well. And once you’re proficient in the job’s requirements, the rate of pay goes up substantially from there.” BLUEPRINT | 2018 | arktimes.com 23


Think you know the steel industry? Think again

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he steel industry is alive and well, in Arkansas, and these fastgrowing companies are providing hundreds of the best-paying jobs in the state. More than 3,000 people are employed by the steel industry in Mississippi County alone. “As part of an agreement with the state of Arkansas, we promised that we would create at least 525 direct and indirect jobs, full-time permanent jobs that paid on average $75,000 a year,” said Lenore Trammell, chief compliance officer with Big River Steel in Osceola, Arkansas. “The average pay for this year was actually in excess of $100,000. So, on average, our employees are making in excess of $100,000 a year, which, if you’re from this area and staying in this area is important to you, this is a great opportunity.” Big River, which produces rolled steel products such as piping and tubing, currently employs more than 500 workers and has plans to double its presence, adding as many as 525 more. Creating the jobs is one thing; filling them is another story. “In terms of what those [new] positions would be, they’re very similar to the positions that we have currently,” Trammell said. “We, like most of the manufacturers in Arkansas, would take almost as many skilled people as we could find. Electricians and mechanics are in very high demand,[and] crane maintenance people are in very high demand.” Steel mills operate around the clock, so flexibility to work days or nights

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is essential. Training is ongoing, but Trammell said that most of what it takes to get started successfully lies in attitude, not aptitude. “Time management—meaning, showing up on time—and being able to be trained are probably the two top things,” she said. “Communication skills, meaning, being able to say what you mean and do so very clearly, is also very important. That seems very basic, but you’d be surprised at the number of people that don’t do those things.” Working in a steel mill in Arkansas is a much different environment than what many people expect. Both Big River and Nucor, a company operating in Mississippi County, east of Blytheville, offer plants that are clean and highly automated. “First and foremost, the perception of a steel mill is dirt underneath the fingernails, back-breaking work, jobs that aren’t for females, jobs that are for uneducated people,” said Randy Henderson, Nucor’s director of community relations. “Years ago, this job took years off your life, but due to technology it’s almost like playing video games.” Nucor produces steel beams used in construction and other sheet metal products, such as lawnmower decks and panels for washers and dryers. “The automation is incredible now,” Henderson said. “Years ago, you had workers physically doing jobs that now you have employees programming robots and machinery to do. The physical element hasn’t been taken out completely, but it’s definitely decreased. Instead of using your hands, for a lot of the tasks you’re using your mind.”


“We, like most of the manufacturers in Arkansas, would take almost as many skilled people as we could find.” —Lenore Trammell, chief compliance officer, Big River Steel

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ears ago, working in a factory was among the most unpleasant jobs one could do. The work was hard, manual labor in swelteringly hot and often dangerous conditions. It was not something you did if you had other options. My, how times have changed. Today, Arkansas’s industries are showplaces for space age technology, robotic welders, CDC fabrication and other machines that tackle the backbreaking tasks that used to fall to humans. This automation – collectively called advanced manufacturing – requires a new breed of employee. “We are seeing more interest in the technical areas,” said Linda Rushing, vice chancellor of University of Arkansas Monticello’s College of Technology in Crossett. “Today, there are things happening in our public schools that [are] bringing awareness about the opportunities available, and, as a result, we’re starting to see the stigma of vocational and technical education being less than what it used to be.” UAMC’s program leads students through the various technical skill sets they will need to thrive in the new high-tech manufacturing workplace. The school’s curriculum was developed in partnership with area employers to ensure subject matter addresses real-world job demands. “You see a lot of young people in high schools that are interested in the robotics,” she said. “That’s just one of the courses that we have in our electro-mechanical technology instrumentation program and our advanced manufacturing technology program. Robotics in the public schools has generated a lot of interest in technical programs that students may not have looked at.” Top students in the program get the opportunity to split time between the classroom and the work environment through the FAME Internship, which doubles as a two-year apprenticeship program. “They’ll go to class all day Monday and all day Wednesday and may have one evening class later on,” Rushing said of FAME designees. “The other three days, they work in the industry while they earn their associate degree.” Mechatronics is another area of expertise that is highly coveted in advanced manufacturing. Mechatronics describes manufacturing processes that combine mechanical and electrical skills. “What makes mechatronics so awesome is that it’s a trade but it’s broad,” said Janel Cotter, director of workforce development for Arkansas State University Mountain Home. “You could use it in advanced manufacturing, but it’s also found in the medical field, agriculture and the automotive industry. It even sets you up for engineering if that’s what you wanted to do.” Mechatronics isn’t new, but it’s an unfamiliar term to many potential students. Which is why schools like ASUMH have made it their mission to better educate high schoolers on the opportunities this skill presents. “Here at the tech center, we have a secondary program where local high school students can get concurrent credit,” she said. “While they’re going to high school, they are also getting college credit because they are taking college classes.” “This May, I had a high school student graduate with a certificate of proficiency in mechatronics at the same time he graduated with his high school diploma. He graduated May 19 and on May 30 he had already started work for a local manufacturer. If you’re 18 and you’re making $30,000 at your first job, that’s pretty good.”

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Diesel careers provide stability, earning power

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herever you go in the country—or across the state of Arkansas—diesel engines drive industry. Diesel engines can be found in trucks, in heavy equipment, and in a variety of machinery in factory settings. It is one of the most versatile and marketable skills a person can have, and it’s something one can learn within the span of a single school year. “Our program is a nine-month total program with a certificate at the end,” said Jake Selvidge. diesel program instructor as Arkansas State University-Beebe. “We cover all major systems of over-the-road trucks – engines, brakes, steering and suspension, HVAC, maintenance. We’ll be hands-on with the systems, usually spending the first half of the semester in classrooms; the second half is all hands-on.” ASU-Beebe’s mechanics lab provides hands-on training, and partnerships with local companies provide additional challenges and accelerated learning. Selvidge said students come from all walks of life. “The biggest percentage [of students] have some mechanical aptitude, whether they’ve had some kind of training in high school or just have an interest in it,” he said. “But some have no experience whatsoever and just want to learn.” Diesel mechanics are in very high demand. Suzanne Bailey, dean of career education at ASUBeebe said the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports about 250 mechanics retire every year, and that doesn’t take into account the number that are needed due to companies’ growth. “According to the Tech Force Foundation, Arkansas Trucking Association and the Bureau of Labor Statistics, by the year 2027, Arkansas alone will need about 2,850 new diesel technicians,” she said. Mark Lennon, assistant professor at the University of Arkansas Fort Smith, is even more to-thepoint when it comes to demand for mechanics. “As far as the demand goes, it is insane,” he said. “Every single industry partner says it’s just ridiculous how bad they need diesel guys. I was talking with a local maintenance supervisor and he told me, ‘If you could give me 10 techs today, I’ll put them to work immediately.’ That’s just one company here in Fort Smith.” People often have a misconception about pay and benefits, according to Zach McClain, an instructor at UAFS who still works with a local company. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports the median annual salary across all diesel technician jobs last year was just over $46,000. And that’s just the beginning. “Benefits include dental, vision, health, 401K,” McClain said. “There’s a lot of places offering signon bonuses. There’s such a need for diesel technicians that they’ll pay you $5,000 to $10,000 on top of all those benefits just to come to work for them.” “Best of all, diesel mechanics are generally trained in other high-demand areas, making them even more coveted by employers,” said Lennon. “[Our students] have a course in MIG basic welding because, if you’re going to be in the diesel industry you’ve got to know how to weld,” he said. “They’ll also have to go into electrical. One of the things that our diesel advisory board says they’re really needing is technicians that know how to diagnose electrical.” As for career mobility, a diesel mechanic with good work ethic can take his or her career into many different directions. “You can go anywhere from the bottom rung all the way up to management,” McClain said. “The vice president of maintenance in my current company actually started on the shop floor. The upward mobility is there. It’s such a big industry and there’s such a large need; you can almost do anything you want if you put in the time, get the experience and have the work ethic to do the job.”


New steel academya world class addition to educational community

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ississippi County is one of the largest steel-producing counties in the United States and will soon be the center of steelmaking education and training as well. In January, Gov. Asa Hutchinson announced the creation of Arkansas Steelmaking Academy, a partnership between Arkansas Northeastern College (ANC) and SMS Group, a German company that manufactures equipment for the metals industry. “SMS is a global company. They build all the equipment, all the process control operations for companies, and they customize those to the companies,” said Dr. James Shemwell, president of ANC. “They have operated, for years now, a corporate training division called the Techademy. They provide very specific modular training to steel processing and steelmaking.” “Previously, that training has only been available in Germany. Through our partnership with the SMS Group the training that we will offer through Arkansas Steelmaking Academy will be for all of their North American customers.” Most people don’t realize how precise steelmaking processes and equipment are to meet standards of product quality, production goals and safety. The Academy will be an invaluable resource for local companies to train more employees in a shorter time, at a lower cost. The Academy will begin classes in 2019 and is part of ANC’s $14 million Center for Allied Technologies, which opened with the 2018-2019 school year. In addition to steel technology, the 90,000-square-foot center offers a range of customized training and career-based programs for high school students seeking to get a jump on earning college credit in electrical and mechanical engineering, metallurgy, steel industry technology, aviation maintenance, HVAC, construction, electrical work and welding, among others.

we do custom publishing. For more info: katherine@arktimes.com BLUEPRINT | 2018 | arktimes.com 27


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? tems, including generators and transformers. Electricians install and maintain electrical power, wiring, • Maintenance or repair of assembly line machinery communications, lighting and control systems in homes, or motors. businesses and factories. They work in accordance with Telecommunications Electricians rules and regulations to ensure that buildings operate in • Lay cable (including fiber optics) needed for all forms a way that is safe to residents and occupants. of communication, including phone and computers. • Install systems that run telephones, intercoms, comElectricians’ general day-to-day responsibilities include: puter networks, security and fire alarms. • Ensure businesses and factories operate safely and Outside Linemen efficiently, through scheduled maintenance and • Set up the cable from power plants to buildings and upgrades to their electrical systems. homes. • Repair control systems, large and small motors • Work atop telephone poles or alongside the road. and other equipment in factories; install electrical • Work to restore power after storms and floods. machines in factories. Electricians use tools to cut and shape wire and bend • Read blueprints and install electrical wiring and sys- conduits into specific angles, as well as a variety of meatems in new residential and commercial buildings suring devices including: under construction; install circuits, outlets, panel Ammeters – Used to measure the electric current in boards and other electrical components. a circuit. • Access, test and upgrade older systems during remodOhmmeters — Also known as ohm meter, this measures eling projects. Find and replace faulty or aged wiring the electrical resistance that runs counter to a current. that could pose a safety hazard. Voltmeters — Measures the amount of voltage passing • Plan the layout and installation of wiring through an between two points. entire building or series of buildings. Add, maintain Oscilloscopes — Graphs how voltage rises and falls and replace circuit breakers, fuses and wires. over a specific period of time. • Review the work other electricians do, making sure it meets the safety standards and building codes. WHAT’S NEW? Many electricians are getting the opportunity to work Electricians can be divided into four general categories: with exciting new technologies such as: Residential Wiremen Green energy • Install and maintain electrical wires that go into • Green energy includes solar panels and wind turbines peoples’ homes. to generate power. • Replace worn fuse boxes with new circuit breakers. • Electricians handle special storage units called high• Install new electrical equipment, such as light fixtures, efficiency photovoltaic cells to collect energy. ceiling fans, dimmer switches and outlets. • They also install and service power converters which Inside Wiremen take the energy generated by the sun or wind, con• Place and maintain electrical wires in office buildings, vert it to electricity and download it into the electrifactories, airports, schools and hospitals. cal system. • Maintenance work on industrial equipment and sys28

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Smart Electrical Grids • New technology that regulates the flow of power to users, detects malfunctions in the grid, and maintains service to homes and businesses. • Electricians keep smart grids running at peak performance. Eye Tracking Technology • Disabled individuals use this technology to operate computers as sensors follow their eye movements on special screens. WHERE DO ELECTRICIANS WORK? Electricians held about 6,200 jobs in Arkansas in 2016, the majority of them working for electrical contractors. Nearly all electricians work full-time. Electricians work indoors and outdoors, at homes, businesses, factories and construction sites. Many electricians work alone, but sometimes they collaborate with others. At larger companies, electricians are more likely to work as part of a crew. During scheduled maintenance or on construction sites, electricians can expect to work overtime. Work schedules may include evenings and weekends and may vary during times of bad weather, which may require working in rain, wind or snow. Some electrical workers have to wear specialized safety equipment which can be uncomfortable outdoors in hot weather. WHAT’S THE JOB OUTLOOK? The U.S. Department of Labor predicts by 2026, the number of electrician jobs in Arkansas will grow to 6,870. This represents a 16 percent growth rate which is higher than the national average. HOW MUCH CAN I MAKE? • Lower range wages (bottom 10 percent) — $25,480 annually/$12.25 per hour • Middle range wages (median) — $43,530 annually/$20.93 per hour


CAN I BE SUCCESSFUL WITHOUT GOING TO COLLEGE? Yes, if success is defined by having a satisfying career that affords you a good living.

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t Arnold & Blevins Electric Company, we take pride in our work. We feel that the key to success is fairness and quality, and we try to put a little extra into each one of our projects. We specialize in everything from small commercial to large industrial projects and feel that we must have the best team to meet the needs of our clients.

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he starting pay for our first year apprentices is $12 per hour. All of our apprentices are required to attend school for four hours one night a week during the school calendar year. Arnold & Blevins has created it’s own training facility exclusively for our employees. It is expected that our employees earn their Journeyman Electrical License by the end of four years. Our company also offers a variety of benefits including health and retirement. Currently our medical plan premiums cost our employees just $9.75 per week for employee only coverage.

LEARN MORE TODAY! CALL US AT (501) 758-6565.

3716 HAROLD ST NORTH LITTLE ROCK

500 JEAN MARY AVE SPRINGDALE • (479) 442-8755

WWW.ARNOLDBLEVINS.COM BLUEPRINT | 2018 | arktimes.com 29


Higher range wages (top 10 percent) — $62,800 annually/$30.19 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. • Ability to retain information, such as local codes and safety procedures. Troubleshooting • Noticing problems or irregularities during tests. • Figuring out why something isn’t working. Mechanical Ability • Understanding machines and how they work. • Understanding tools and how how to use and maintain them. Business/Interpersonal skills • Time management to keep projects on schedule. • Ability to work with a team. • Customer service and listening skills. Physical skills • Must have good color vision, because different wires are identified by their color. • Must be fit enough to move around all day while running wire. • Must be strong enough to lift and move components which may weigh up to 50 pounds. HOW DO I LEARN THE CRAFT? Most electricians learn their trade in a combination of classroom education and on-the-job training. Some two-year 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.

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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 masters 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 they make 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 in specific products. ELECTRICAL APPRENTICESHIP & EDUCATIONAL PROGRAMS The following is just a sample of some of the electrical training and apprenticeship programs in Arkansas. Not all college programs qualify as apprenticeships. For more training programs, please visit www.beprobeproud.com, www.arkansasapprenticeship.com or www.careeronestop.org. AEAP, INC, Pine Bluff, 870-534-2672, andersonelectric.cc Arkansas College of Electricity, Rogers, 479-636-2633, www.arcollege.net Arkansas Construction Education Foundation (ACEF), multiple Arkansas locations, 501-372-1590, www.myacef.org Black River Electrical, Paragould, 870-239-0969, www. blackrivertech.org El Dorado Electrical Apprenticeship, El Dorado, 870639-3781, email eldoradojatc@suddenlinkmail.com Fort Smith Electrical JATC, Fort Smith, 479-709-9604, www.ibew700.com UAM College of Technology, Crossett, 870-364-6414, www.uamont.edu

CLARANCE MYRICK Age: 18 Education: Armorel High School, Arkansas Northeastern College Snapshot: Myrick is in his first semester at ANC and is also in an internship with Nucor, a steel plant near Blytheville. YOU GOT A JUMP ON THIS CAREER EARLY, AM I CORRECT? I’d say about ninth grade, I was about 15 or 16, I started looking at the electrical field and being an industrial electrician. I took college classes in high school to prepare me for my future college career. I had the offer to do some technical stuff like welding, and I knew I wanted to pursue the electrical field so I went ahead and started taking basics. DID YOU DO ANYTHING OUTSIDE THE CLASSROOM TO PREPARE FOR YOUR CAREER? I grew up working on cars and building things with my dad, which got me into the interest of maintenance. He’s always been in mobile maintenance out at Nucor. I started building my own truck; I started getting my hands on everything that I could possibly do without messing something up. I’d recommend to high school kids getting in any kind of HVAC classes or any electrical classes, maintenance classes, welding classes. If their school offers some type of program that either costs them little money or no money at all, just add another class that next semester and see if they like it. WHAT DOES AN INDUSTRIAL ELECTRICIAN DO? They kind of do it all. They do commercial, residential, instrumental work. There’s a whole number of things that just go with industrial electricians that many people don’t realize. I thought I was just going to be wiring stuff up, but there’s more to it than that. HOW WILL YOUR NUCOR INTERNSHIP HELP YOU IN YOUR CAREER? The education I’m gaining right now in the internship gives me an opportunity to get on with the [Nucor] steel mill fulltime when I graduate the program in 2020. The thing about getting a job there is completing the education part with high scores, and showing my progress along the internship. After then I’ll have an interview with Nucor. If I test out well, then I’ll be hired on full-time as an industrial electrician.


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 are just as varied as the products. Many people assume logging is an industry comprised entirely of unskilled, general laborers, and these positions do exist. But a growing number of positions require skilled operators and a grasp of technology, such as: 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 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 • As described previously, 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 southwest 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 grow slightly by 2026, ahead of the national industry average. There were 1,740 logging equipment operators in Arkansas in 2016 and while that job is expected to shrink by 2026, 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.

HOW MUCH CAN I MAKE? Logging Equipment Operators • Lower Range (bottom 10 percent) — $24,670 annually / $11.86 per hour • Middle Range (median) — $38,570 annually / $18.52 per hour • Upper Range (top 10 percent) — $60,830 annually / $29.24 per hour Log Graders/Scalers • Lower Range (bottom 10 percent) — $26,220 annually / $12.60 per hour • Middle Range (median) — $37,620 annually / $18.09 per hour • Upper Range (top 10 percent) — $50,050 annually / $24.06 per hour

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.

AGRI-TIMBER EDUCATIONAL PROGRAMS: The following is a sample of some of the agri-timber in Arkansas. For more training options, please visit careeronestop.org. University of Arkansas at Monticello McGehee, 870460-1026, uamont.edu/pages/uam-college-of-technology-mcgehee North Arkansas College, 870-743-3000, northark.edu BLUEPRINT | 2018 | arktimes.com 31


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 spending the time and money to become 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 WHAT ARE A FEW ALLIED HEALTH JOBS? DO? There are more than 100 careers that fall under the genAllied health is a broad category of careers within the eral heading of allied health, and more are being added all health care field. The number, variety and range of these the time. With a job pool that large, it’s impossible to go jobs is vast – in fact, some estimates say that up to 60 into a detailed description of every one of them. However, percent of all jobs in the health care field are classified the following examples should give you a better underas allied health professions. Many of these positions do standing of the kinds of jobs that fall into this category. not require a four-year degree, which allows people to The website careerprofiles.info compiled a list of the start a career quickly. fastest growing allied health care jobs in the United States. In the most general definition, allied health profesMedical Assistants perform clinical and administrasionals play a role in delivering health or related services tive duties for doctors, surgeons, chiropractors, and other pertaining to the diagnosis, evaluation and prevention medical specialists. of diseases and disorders. In other words, allied health • Typical job duties: Answering phones, greeting professionals are the support staff at the doctor or denpatients, maintaining medical records, scheduling tist’s right hand; they work in the pharmacy, the medical patient appointments, setting up laboratory tests lab or the rehabilitation room, and they are the personnel and handling patient billing. trained to operate diagnostic medical equipment. • Education: Generally includes a certification or associates degree than takes 1 to 2 years to complete. WHY SUCH HIGH DEMAND? • Growth: There were 3,160 medical assistant jobs The high demand for allied health jobs is part of the in Arkansas in 2016; jobs are expected to grow 31 overall growth of the health care industry. Some factors percent by 2026. affecting the industry’s growth include: • Pay: In Arkansas, the medical assistant pay range • People are living longer, thanks to advancements is between $21,730 and $38,720 in medicine, technology and better understanding of healthy habits. Cardiovascular Technologists and Technicians help • The increase of certain chronic conditions such as doctors diagnose and treat heart and vascular problems. diabetes and obesity which have more complications • Typical job duties: Prepare patients for heart proceand require more care. dures such as balloon angioplasties, cardiac catheter• Gerontology (senior citizen care) is exploding with izations and even open-heart surgery. They monitor the aging of the Baby Boomers, a huge segment of heart rate and blood pressure and notify doctors after the population. detecting abnormalities. 32

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Education: Most earn at least an associate’s degree at a community college; others complete a four-year degree. Growth: There were 610 cardiovascular technologist/technician jobs in Arkansas in 2016; jobs are expected to grow 10 percent by 2026. Pay: In Arkansas, the cardiovascular technologist/ technician pay range is between $22,680 and $74,460.

Diagnostic Medical Sonographers utilize sophisticated, high-frequency sound wave technology to take internal images of the body. • Typical job duties: Operating ultrasound equipment, communicating and transmitting results to the physician. • Education: Medical sonographers generally hold an associate’s degree. • Growth: There were 510 medical sonographer jobs in Arkansas in 2016; jobs are expected to grow 22 percent by 2026. • Pay: In Arkansas, the medical sonographer pay range is between $45,320 and $80,110. Respiratory Therapists assess, treat and assist patients with cardiopulmonary and other breathing problems. • Typical job duties: Assess, treat, and assist patients; 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


JALYSSIA WALKER AGE: 18 EDUCATION: Senior, North Little Rock High School SNAPSHOT: Walker attends the North Little Rock Center of Excellence and will graduate in May.

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.

Surgical Technologist (also known as operating room technicians or surgical technicians) assist physicians performing surgical and other medical procedures. • Typical job duties: Prepare operating room, set up tools, sterilize surroundings and tools, and prep patients. During surgery, they observe vital signs, review charts and assist team members as directed. • Education: Surgical technologists earn a post-secondary certificate through a hospital, community college or fouryear institution. • Growth: There were 1,100 surgical technologist jobs in Arkansas in 2016; jobs are expected to grow 11 percent by 2026. Pay: In Arkansas, the surgical technologist pay scale is between $27,500 and $57,290.

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. Some allied health jobs require a measure of technical expertise, working with sensitive (and expensive) medical equipment. Medical sonographers and MRI technicians are just two examples of these kinds of jobs. Many allied health jobs are an extension of the physician and frequently have close contact with patients. A phlebotomist, for instance, is an in-demand allied health professional, whose job entails drawing blood and preparing it for labwork. A dental hygienist examines patients, cleans teeth and provides consults with patients on how to keep a healthy smile. Not all allied health professionals act as front-line support for medical procedures. If drawing blood, dealing with sick people or being in a surgical unit isn’t your thing, there’s great demand for medical records personnel. 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.

What made you want to attend at COE? They had a medical professional program and different pathways in that. I wanted to be part of it because I want to continue in the medical profession and nursing and stuff. It was going to give me a head start in my career, so I thought it was great. At what age did you decide on this career path? When I was really young, I always had to go to the hospital and I had to get surgery when I was really little. I’d always seen nurses and doctors and they really helped me get through hard times. Having to see my brothers and my mom get blood transfusions, I saw that they helped people and make them feel good even when they’re really sick. That motivated me to want to do the same thing when I grew up. You’ve already taken a big step in your career training, haven’t you? I was able to get my CNA (Certified Nursing Assistant) through the program. I was the only person [in my class] to pass my CNA test. I earned that while I’m still in high school, and I’m going to be using that license this summer working at a nursing home. So, COE actually paid off for me. Your principal here at COE seems really invested in the students. She’s really great. I feel like she’s really interested with the students. If we have any trouble with anything, she tells us to email her, and she emails us back really quick. She’ll set up a meeting so we can get back on track if we fall off in our classes. She’s really determined and wants everybody to succeed. We also have mentors where we have teachers divided up with so many students. They help us also, and they make sure we don’t fall off. What advice to you have for other high schoolers who are trying to figure out what they want to do? I would tell a young person to talk to some mentors and ask around to see what interests them. It could be a chef or if their passion is art, be an artist. Just figure out what interests them and then start looking for professionals to see what the career is like after high school. What’s next for you? I plan to go to UCA and eventually get my master’s in nursing and become a pediatric nurse practitioner.

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Aviation comes in all shapes and sizes, from crop dusters and private planes to corporate small 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. AIRCRAFT TECHNICIANS MAY BE DIVIDED INTO TWO BASIC CATEGORIES: Airframe • Perform inspections of aircraft frames, mechanical components and electrical systems to locate wear, defects and other problems. • Read and apply documentation and repair manuals to determine standards and procedures. • Test aircraft functions, using diagnostic equipment to ensure proper performance. • Repair or replace components, using hand or power tools. • Keep records of repairs and maintenance being performed. • 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. 34

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Avionics • Specialize in aircraft electronics, which includes a range of job types. • Responsible for all the electronics aboard 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. • Install radios, autopilots and passenger entertainment systems. • Test on-board equipment to ensure it’s working properly and none of it interferes with other electronic devices. • Maintain repair or maintenance records. WHAT’S NEW? Aircraft are sophisticated machines and there is a variety of mechanical and electronic systems that must be maintained in order for them to operate safely. Aircraft are subject to rules and regulations by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), a government department that oversees anything having to do with aviation in the United States. New safety rules and equipment regulations are introduced regularly, backed up by inspections that a technician must stay on top of. Like any other form of transportation, aircraft manufacturers are continually improving aircraft to make

them safer, faster, more fuel efficient and more comfortable. Technicians must keep up with these changes, too. A technician’s work environment is generally inside climate-controlled hangars. Technicians have to exercise the usual caution using hand tools and the dangerous chemicals they sometimes come in contact with. Some specific typs of businesses that employ aircraft technicians include: 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 relay on companies like FedEx, UPS and the U.S. Postal Service to deliver orders to their custom-


ers, 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 maintenance positions in 2016 and the field is expected to grow eight percent by 2026. That’s ahead of the field nationally which is expected to grow five percent. HOW MUCH CAN I MAKE? Aircraft Mechanics and Service Technicians • Lower range wages (bottom 10 percent) — $26,560 annually/$12.77 per hour • Middle range wages (median) — $47,460 annually/$22.82 per hour • Higher range wages (top 10 percent) — $67,590 annually/$32.49 per hour WHAT DOES IT TAKE TO BE SUCCESSFUL? Technicians in both airframe and avionics benefit from the following skills: Equipment Maintenance and Repairs • Planning and doing the basic maintenance on equipment. • Knowledge of and skill using hand and power tools to complete the work. • Repairing machines or systems using the right tools. Troubleshooting/Quality Control Analysis • Testing how well a product or service works. • Using diagnostic equipment and interpreting the readings or measurements. • Figuring out problems with equipment, machines, wiring or computer programs. Critical Thinking • Considering pros and cons of different ways to solve a problem. Complex Problem Solving • Noticing a problem and figuring out the best solution.

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. AVIATION EDUCATIONAL PROGRAMS The following is a sample of some of the aviation technician training programs in Arkansas. Not all college programs offer training in all areas of aviation technology and mechanics. For a list of training programs, please visit careeronestop.org. Arkansas Northeastern College, Blytheville, 870-762-1020, anc.edu. Southern Arkansas University Tech, Camden (additional location in Texarkana), 870.574.4500, sautech.edu. University of Arkansas Pulaski Technical College, North Little Rock, 501-812-2200, uaptc.com. Arkansas State University Mid-South, West Memphis, 870-733-6722, asumidsouth.edu.

ABIGAIL SCHREYER Age: 19 Education: Beebe, AR High School Snapshot: Abigail is currently in her second year in the aviation maintenance program at SAU Tech in Malvern. HOW DID YOU DEVELOP AN INTEREST IN THIS FIELD? Aviation has kind of always been a part of my life, but I really didn’t start looking into it until my junior year of high school, when my parents sat me down and were like ‘What do you want to do?’ I was like, ‘I don’t know.’ I’d always enjoyed mechanics, so we sat down at the computer and we were like, ‘OK, well, what are some good fields that are good pay and that are needed?’ We got to looking at schools here in Arkansas and the only two that we could find at the time were SAU Tech and Pulaski Tech. The reason I chose here was because SAU Tech offered an associate’s in applied science, and they had housing. WHAT ARE YOUR GOALS? I’ll be graduating this coming May with my associate’s in applied science along with my certificate of completion. I plan on getting my license a month after I graduate and starting off small somewhere, getting my three to five years’ experience. Then I hope to go into contracting and be able to travel. WHAT IS CONTRACTING? Contracting is where you sign on with a company and once you’re there you work for them. It can be short-term or long; it could be a month, it could be a year, it could be five years, but it’s all over the world, so you’re not tied to a single location. You can travel wherever you want to go. WHAT DO YOU THINK IS THE BIGGEST MISCONCEPTION MOST YOUNG PEOPLE HAVE ABOUT THIS FIELD? I would have to say it’s thinking that aircraft maintenance is way too hard and confusing. That it’s, like, rocket science and I’m not going to be able to do that. But it’s the same basic concepts that you have in regular, everyday mechanical maintenance. We have a student that came in with no mechanical experience whatsoever and walked out of here and got his license. Here at SAU Tech, they do an amazing job of tying it all together and showing you what you need to know.

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Computer-aided design/computer-aided manufacturing drafters create 2-D and 3-D 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 computeraided manufacturing (CAM) are two computer-aided technologies. Previously, drafters created technical drawings – sometimes called schematics – by hand, a slow and tedious process. 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. The CAD file contains commands for a machine, such as a cutting tool or a lathe, to perform certain functions to produce the part. 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 can also help simulate certain forces and stressors. For example, designers may want to test how a design would stand up against pressure or torque. A CAD system can produce a model that shows onscreen how well the design would hold up. 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. BIM produces highly accurate digital models of buildings and machines. The system allows designers and engineers to see how different parts of their projects work together. WHERE DO CAD/CAM DRAFTERS WORK? A few types of drafters and the industries in which they work include: Architectural drafters • Draw architectural and structural features of buildings for construction projects. • May specialize in a type of building, such as residential or commercial. 36

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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 about 800 jobs in 2016. The vast majority worked in an architectural office, engineering firm or in manufacturing. 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 remain around 13 percent through 2026, growing faster than the national average. Therefore, it is to your advantage to earn additional certifications or learn additional skills, such as building information modeling (BIM) technologies, to stand out from other applicants. HOW MUCH CAN I MAKE? Mechanical • Lower Range (bottom 10 percent)—$33,350 annually / $16.03 per hour • Middle Range (median)—$47,800 annually / $23.02 per hour • Upper Range (top 10 percent)—$73,700 annually / $35.43 per hour Electronic/Electrical • Lower Range (bottom 10 percent)—$40,820 annually / $19.63 per hour • Middle Range (median)—$59,080 annually / $28.40 per hour


JENNIFER MENDEN Age: 36 Education: University of Arkansas Community College, Batesville Snapshot: A nurse by education, Menden owns Menco Construction in Sherwood, Arkansas with her husband Daniel.

Upper Range (top 10 percent)—$78,540 annually /$37.76 per hour

Civil/Architectural Lower Range (bottom 10 percent)—$30,180 annually /$14.51 per hour • Middle Range (median)—$44,790 annually / $21.53 per hour • Upper Range (top 10 percent) — $65,360 annually / $31.42 per hour •

WHAT DOES IT TAKE TO BE SUCCESSFUL? Creativity • The ability to translate plans and ideas into technical drawings . • Ability to “see” the project from just a description or plans. Detail oriented • Must pay close attention to detail so plans closely match specifications. Interpersonal skills • Must be able to communicate effectively. • Must work well with others. Math/technical skills • May be required to solve mathematical calculations involving angles, weights and costs. • Useful high school courses include math, science, computer technology, design, computer graphics and drafting. Time-management skills • Must be able to work efficiently to deliver work on time. • Must be able to work without direct supervision.

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. CAD/CAM DRAFTING EDUCATIONAL PROGRAMS: The following is a sample of some of the CAD/ CAM training programs in Arkansas. For more options, please visit beprobeproud.com or careeronestop.org. ASU-Beebe, 501-882-3600, asub.edu (also available at ASU campuses in Mountain Home and Newport) East Arkansas Community College, Forrest City, 870-633-4480, eacc.edu North Arkansas College, Harrison, 870-743-3000, www.northark.edu Northwest Arkansas Community College, Bentonville, 479-636-9222, nwacc.edu/web/nwacc/home University of Arkansas Pulaski Tech, North Little Rock, 501-812-2200, pulaskitech.edu University of Arkansas Community College at Morrilton, 501-977-2053, uaccm.edu Arkansas Tech-Ozark, 866-225-2884, atu.edu/ozark

AS A SMALL BUSINESS, YOU AND YOU HUSBAND HAVE TO WEAR A LOT OF HATS. HOW DID CAD/ CAM COME TO BE ONE OF YOURS? It was really just something that needed to be done. We had hired people to do it but with varied results. I just decided to start working with people—I worked with an engineer, I worked with another CAD designer—to learn it myself. It was a motivation thing for me. I wanted to know how to do it, so I did online training for it. WHAT FUNCTIONS DO YOU PROVIDE TO THE BUSINESS? I draw all of our homes on the inside and outside and work through the mechanicals of everything goes on the home. Then we can do framing packages, footings, design on what has brick, what has siding, we can put cabinets in it. All of those kind of things. We have a code book, and I read it and go through it. I also grew up in a family that did construction as well, so I’ve kind of always seen bits and pieces of it. HAD YOU DISCOVERED THIS IN HIGH SCHOOL OR COLLEGE, WHAT CLASSES WOULD YOU HAVE TAKEN KNOWING WHAT YOU KNOW NOW? I certainly would have taken autoCAD classes, so I would have had that background. To have someone teach me those things first probably would have been an easier step. THESE DAYS, YOUNG PEOPLE CAN BE INTRODUCED TO CAD/CAM THROUGH MAKER SPACES. IS THAT ENCOURAGING TO YOU AS A BUSINESS OWNER IN THE TRADES? I am encouraged. I think the technology and the things kids are learning now is good. On the other hand, as an owner of a construction company, it’s a struggle that no one wants to work with their hands or go into trades anymore. I feel like that is such a good role to be a plumber, to be an electrician. As long as you are motivated to work hard you can be super successful. SINCE YOU BROUGHT IT UP, WHAT ARE SOME SOFT SKILLS OR INTANGIBLES THAT YOU AS AN EMPLOYER LOOK FOR IN AN EMPLOYEE? Motivation and hard work. We work almost in a generation of hand-it-to-me instead of work-for-it. Kids that come out of high school who will work for things can be successful. You don’t have to necessarily have that college degree; you have to want to work.

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Of all the skilled professions, carpentry is the oldest and arguably the most widely recognized. Popular home remodeling shows have brought new attention to the trade and further accentuated carpenters’ reputation. 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? All carpenters use tools to cut and shape wood, plasCarpenters construct, repair and install building tic, fiberglass or drywall. Many employers require carframeworks, remodel and rehab existing buildings, penters to supply their own tools. and perform the finishing work made from wood and • Typical hand tools: hammers, saws, squares, levels, other materials. chisels and tape measures. Carpentry is a versatile occupation in the construc- • Typical power tools: sanders, circular saws, nail tion industry, with craftsmen and women generally proguns, drills, welding machines. ficient in a variety of tasks. Some carpenters are more • Carpenters also fasten materials using nails, screws, specialized, such as those who insulate office buildings staples and adhesives. and/or install drywall or kitchen cabinets in homes. The following are examples of types of carpenters: WHAT’S NEW? Construction carpenters The carpenter trade can be traced back as far as bib• Construct, install, and repair structures and fixtures. lical times, but on the modern jobsite, carpenters take • Work in wood, plywood and wallboard. advantage of a number of technological advancements. • Use hand tools and power tools to complete their These new apps, products and handhelds allow carpenwork. ters to design and plan projects and perform work faster • Adhere to building and permitting guidelines and and with more precision. safety requirements. • Construct building frameworks such as walls, floors Cloud Computing/Apps and doorframes. Visit a construction site and you’ll see more iPhones Rough carpenters and iPads than paper blueprints. Being skilled in the • Build rough, temporary wooden structures, such trades means knowing how to quickly store and retrieve as concrete forms and scaffolds. plans, documents and schematics, and that’s exactly • May also build tunnels, bridges, or sewer supports. what the cloud does for today’s carpenters and their • They use hand tools identical to that of construc- clients. tion carpenters. If you choose to go into business for yourself, you • Build construction forms or molds. will find apps that help you keep everything straight, • Observe safety guidelines at all times. from bidding new work to billing finished projects and everything in between.

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BIM Bulding Information Modeling (BIM) is technology that allows architects, engineers, contractors other construction professionals to create virtual plans that can be easily changed. BIM provides onboard tools for coordinating the many craftspeople who are scheduled to work on a building. Changes can be made easily in the building specs, without having to lug around paper plans or waste a lot of time 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. Thermal Imaging A new generation of specially designed phones have the ability to take a thermal scan of a house or building, showing a craftsman exactly where heat is escaping and, with it, wasted energy. Thermal imaging also gives builders a means of locating moisture to pinpoint water leaks, identifying electrical hotspots, structural defects, plumbing clogs and HVAC issues without tearing things apart.


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 just over 6,930 total carpentry jobs in Arkansas. The Department of Labor predicts the number of these jobs will grow 11 percent by 2026, faster than the national average. About a third of carpenters are self-employed and one in five works in residential construction. As with other construction jobs, carpenters are at the mercy of the economy; when a slowdown occurs, building projects are generally postponed or cancelled and workers get laid off. HOW MUCH CAN I MAKE? • Lower range wages (bottom 10 percent) — ­­ $19,500 annually/$9.37 per hour • Middle range wages (median) — $34,240 annually/$16.46 per hour • Higher range wages (top 10 percent) — $48,720 annually/$23.42 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 • Self-employed carpenters must bid new jobs, track inventory and plan work assignments. Detail oriented • Make precise cuts, measurements and modifications. Dexterity • Hand-eye coordination necessary to avoid injury or damaging materials with tools. Math skills • Basic math skills are used to calculate area, precisely cut material and determine the amount of material needed to complete the job. Physical strength/stamina • Tools and materials that can weigh up to 100 pounds. • Carpenters frequently stand, climb or bend for hours on the job. Problem-solving skills • Ability to modify building material and make adjustments on-site.

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, where available, 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 coworkers 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) 10and 30-hour safety courses. Carpentry Apprenticeship and Educational Programs The following is a sample of some of the carpentry education programs in Arkansas. Not all college courses in carpentry qualify as apprenticeships. For more training programs, please visitbeprobeproud.org, careeronestop.org and arkansasapprenticeship.com. Arkansas Construction Education Foundation, Little Rock training center, 501-372-1590, myacef.org Crowley’s Ridge Technical Institute, Forrest City, 870-633-5411, crti.tec.ar.us North Arkansas College, Harrison, 870-743-3000, northark.edu University of Arkansas Pulaski Technical College, North Little Rock, 501-812-2200, pulaskitech.edu Nabholz Construction, Conway, 501-505-5800, nabholz.com

ANDREW LISENBY Age: 31 Education: Magnet Cove High School, U.S. Air Force Reserves, Grantham University Snapshot: Andrew serves as Plant Relief Operator for a natural gas plant owned by Arkansas Electric Cooperative Corporation. WHAT ARE PAY AND BENEFITS LIKE IN YOUR INDUSTRY? Overall, AECC pays right on par with everybody else and their benefits package is far above everybody else’s. I’m at Grantham University right now for computer and electronics engineering, and that’s all company-paid. They’re very generous, the company is. It’s helping me out. GIVEN THAT, WHY AREN’T MORE PEOPLE LOOKING AT A CAREER LIKE YOURS? You have a lot of parents that are pushing their kids to go to college and get a degree and that is absolutely fantastic. To be honest with you, to move up to management or beyond, a degree goes a long way. That next level of education is important in that respect. But to get your foot in the door to get somewhere, especially in industry, you need some type of trade to bring to the table. WHAT TRAINING AND EDUCATION DID YOU HAVE WHEN YOU STARTED? Initially I was dead set on becoming a coach. I was going to Henderson State and was enrolled in their program there. It wasn’t what I thought it was going to be. I didn’t like it as much as I thought I was going to like it. Initially, I had started out here as a temporary employee. I was going to college, was doing construction work, and I was working at Lowe’s trying to just make it through college. I was still going to school and got tired of paying for school, so I joined the Air Force reserve and my job there was power production. When I got out of tech school, they [AECC] had a full-time position here at the plant. Through the military, I finished an associate’s degree in mechanical and electrical technologies. WHEN DID YOU FIRST REALIZE THIS WOULD BE A GOOD JOB FOR YOU? When I started, they had an outage going on and they were rebuilding one of the gas turbines and needed someone to work in a tool crib. I came out here, I worked a tool crib for a couple days. I went up on the actual deck where they were working on the unit, and there were some guys messing around with the hydraulic tensioning device. They couldn’t figure it out. Well, I had watched them and I jumped in there and I got it to work. The lead for the job saw that, and he moved me out of the tool crib and put me on the deck learning what was going on. I really liked that. I thought it was very, very interesting and fulfilling as a job. BLUEPRINT | 2018 | arktimes.com 39


Think of all the machines that it takes to produce the things we use and enjoy every day. 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. CNC operators are part of a category of jobs called machinists. 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 40

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aided design (CAD) systems. For this reason, CNC operators are sometimes cross-trained on CAD/CAM systems.

CNC machines perform fully automated cuts or drill multiple holes with tremendous precision.

WHAT’S NEW? Computer-controlled equipment represent 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 3-D 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.

WHERE DO CNC OPERATORS WORK? Most CNC operators today work in jobs in manufacturing facilities producing fabricated metal products, plastics and rubber products, transportation equipment, primary metal and machinery. CNC is a cornerstone technology of advanced manufacturing, which is a much cleaner and safer form of manufacturing and provides and 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, Physical stamina/strength earplugs and steel-toed boots. You may also have to wear • Able to stand for long periods and perform repetia respirator to guard against fumes or dust, particularly tive work. when working with plastics. • Strong enough to guide and load heavy and bulky parts and materials into machines. WHAT’S THE JOB OUTLOOK? Design According to the US Department of Labor, there were • Knowledge of design techniques, tools and principles only 100 CNC operators in the entire state in 2016, which involved in the production of precision technical plans, leaves a lot of room for growth. blueprints, drawings and models. CNC operators are the latest generation of a long line Mechanical skills of machine operators and setters that have evolved with • Comfortable setting up and operating machinery changes in technology in manufacturing. As more compa- • Have a good understanding of how machines and nies adopt systems that are considered “lean manufacturtheir parts work. ing,” CNC technology will continue to be an important part • Have a good grasp of various shop tools, how they of production, and the demand for skilled CNC operators work and how to maintain them. is likely to remain strong. Experts predict the number of these jobs to grow 20 HOW DO I LEARN THE CRAFT? percent by 2026. Machine operator trainees usually begin by watching Most metal and plastic machine workers are employed and helping experienced workers on the job. Beginner full-time. Overtime is common, and because many manu- job duties may include: facturers run their machinery for extended periods, eve- • Supervised supply of materials. ning and weekend work is also common. • Starting and stopping the machines. • Removing finished products. HOW MUCH CAN I MAKE? Workers then advance to more difficult tasks such as: • Lower Range (bottom 10 percent) — $35,120 annually • Adjusting feed speeds. / $16.89 per hour • Changing cutting tools. • Middle Range (median) — $48,840 annually / $23.48 • Inspecting a finished product for defects. per hour Eventually, these workers develop the skills and experi• Upper Range (top 10 percent) — $63,360 annually / ence to set up machines and perform a full range of tasks. $30.46 per hour CNC machine tool programmers typically need to complete courses beyond high school. CNC operators generWith experience and expertise, workers can become ally do not complete an apprenticeship like other trades. candidates for more advanced positions, which usually Some operators are trained on basic machine operations include higher pay and more responsibilities. Experienced and functions in a few months, while computer-controlled workers with good communication and analytical skills machine tool operators may need up to a year to become may move into supervisory positions. fully trained in their craft. Community colleges and other schools offer courses WHAT DOES IT TAKE TO BE SUCCESSFUL? and certificate programs in operating metal and plastics Computer skills machines that involve CNC programming. Related course• Ability to use programmable devices, computers and work that is helpful in this role includes: robots on the factory floor. • Computer-aided design (CAD). • Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips and • Computer-aided manufacturing (CAM). software, including applications and programming. Certification can be helpful for advancement. The Mathematics National Institute for Metalworking Skills (NIMS) offers • Knowledge of math, algebra, geometry, calculus, sta- certification in numerous metalworking specializations. tistics and their applications.

CNC OPERATOR EDUCATIONAL PROGRAMS: The following is a sample of some of the CNC operator training programs in Arkansas. For more training options, please visit www.beprobeproud.com or careeronestop.org. Arkansas State University Mid-South, West Memphis (additional program in Beebe), (870) 733-6722, asumidsouth.edu College of the Ouachitas, Malvern, (501) 337-5000, coto.edu East Arkansas Community College, Forrest City, (870) 633-4480, eacc.edu North Arkansas College, Harrison, (870) 743-3000, northark.edu Northwest Arkansas Community College, Bentonville, (479) 636-9222, nwacc.edu/web/nwacc/home Rich Mountain Community College, Mena, (479) 394-7622, rmcc.edu

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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 COMPUTER CODERS DO? Even though computer programmers and computer coders are in the same job family, there are important differences to consider. Computer coders write the computer language (or code) for software programs that tell machines what to do. This software acts as the brains behind many of our “smart” devices (smartphones, smart cars, etc.) Coders may also develop websites or apps for the companies they work for. Computer programmers do the same thing as computer coders, but they are also responsible for managing the overall project of designing, producing and testing a new software product or designing a network system. Both computer coders and programmers may perform the following duties: • Develop programs that store, locate and retrieve data and information . • Write and test computer language or “code” such as C++ and Java . • Test newly created applications and programs to make sure they work as designed. • Manage computer systems and network operations, including performing network security functions against hackers. • Act as an on-site technician or troubleshooter for a factory or small manufacturer which relies on computer-assisted equipment such as computer-aided 42

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drafting, machining or robotics to make products. experience a 360-degree digital environment. Manage and maintain computer systems in the • Some applications include giving a client a look at trucking industry to ensure onboard computers cola building before it is built, conducting flight trainlect and organize data properly. Or serve a similar ing or producing a safety course that simulates fire role in the construction industry working with BIM, or other emergency. a project design and management system. WHERE DO COMPUTER PROGRAMMERS AND WHAT’S NEW? CODERS WORK? Consider: Just ten years ago, few people even knew Most programmers and coders work full-time in offices, what an app was and look where we are now. Technology but the nature of the work allows many to work from 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. something faster and smarter within a very short period of time. Some emerging trends in the industry include: WHAT’S THE JOB OUTLOOK? Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) In 2016, there were 3,860 computer programming posi• Applications provided through the Internet that tions in Arkansas. Experts disagree on the job outlook work across all system platforms. for the future; some sources predict a decline in the • Designed to adapt as technology changes, there- number of jobs, while others expect it to grow as much fore programmers can spend less time rewriting as eight percent. and more time writing new programs. Computer programmers and coders are part of a much Big data larger group of jobs under the category of information • Online tools collect habits and tendencies of users technology. Programmers who have general business to help businesses understand how they’re perform- experience may become computer systems analysts. ing or to determine wants and needs. With experience, some programmers may become soft• In manufacturing, big data can show a company ware developers. With the right education and experihow to reduce waste, improve production quality ence, the career options in information technology are and increase overall efficiency. nearly endless. Virtual Reality (VR)/Augmented Reality (AR) • Technologies that provide the user the ability to •


HOW MUCH CAN I MAKE? even if that person only has an associate’s degree. Computer programmers It’s also becoming more common for companies • Lower range wages (bottom 10 percent) — to help employees complete or expand their educa$41,740 annually/$20.07 per hour tion, either through directly paying for school or • Middle range wages (median) — $64,040 annu- through tuition reimbursement benefits. ally/$30.79 per hour Finally, there’s a new type of computer school • Higher range wages (top 10 percent) — $105,350 that’s starting to crop up around the country. Known annually/$50.65 per hour as coding boot camps, these highly-focused—and Your actual earning power depends on the com- generally short-term—education programs give pany you work for, your level of experience and students intensive training in coding applications. certifications, your years of experience, and, in Arkansas’s first such school is the Arkansas Codsome cases, the part of the state where you work. ing Academy, a joint program of the University of Central Arkansas and Metova Inc., which offers WHAT DOES IT TAKE TO BE SUCCESSFUL? three- and six-month educational programs. Analytical skills • Understanding complex instructions in order COMPUTER CODING/COMPUTER PROto create computer code. GRAMMING EDUCATIONAL PROGRAMS • Ability to systematically think through existing The following is a sample of some of the comissues or anticipate future problems. puter coding and computer programming eduThinking creatively cational courses in Arkansas. For more train• Develop, design or create new applications. ing programs, please visit beprobeproud.com or • Transform ideas into software products. careeronestop.org. Detail oriented • Closely examine code to detect errors and bugs. Arkansas Coding Academy (University of Cen• Testing to see how well a product or service tral Arkansas), Conway, Arkansas, 501-450-5276, works. arkansascodingacademy.com Problem solving • Thinking about the pros and cons of different University of Arkansas Little Rock, (501) 569ways to solve a problem. 3000, ualr.edu • Coming up with workable solutions to issues. Crowley’s Ridge Technical Institute, Forrest City, HOW DO I LEARN THE CRAFT? (870) 633-5411, crti.tec.ar.us If you attend high school in Arkansas, you already have access to beginning coding classes. University of Arkansas Community College at In 2015, the state legislature passed a law requiring Batesville, (870) 612-2000, uaccb.edu all Arkansas schools to provide computer science classes that included coding and other IT subjects Phillips Community College-University of as a way to give students a jump on the careers of Arkansas, Helena-West Helena (also programs the future. Arkansas was the first and, at the time, in DeWitt and Stuttgart), (870) 338-6474, pccua.edu the only state in the country to require schools to offer such classes. Ozarka College, Melbourne, (870) 368-7371, After high school, you may attend a college which ozarka.edu offers certificate programs that can provide basic skills in just a matter of months, all the way to an associate’s degree that takes two years. Computer coders and programmers do not complete apprenticeships like other trades, but continuing education to keep up with new computer languages and technology is usually expected. Traditionally, employers have required computer programmers to have a bachelor’s degree, but a lot of companies today are showing they are willing to hire the person with the right skills and attitude,

TABITHA DILLMAN Age: 22 Education: Graduate, Cabot High School; Army National Guard Job: Signal Support System Specialist Snapshot: The Cabot native and former high school star athlete comes from a military family. She joined the service for the mental and physical challenge of being a soldier. TELL ME ABOUT YOUR JOB SPECIALTY It’s a wide range of work, a mixture of outdoor and indoor work. It just depends on what you’re doing. If you work on computers, you can still be outdoors in a tent that you set up. The biggest thing that we try to talk about with communications is signal flow. We try to make the big picture happen rather than just the small picture here, like set up internet in this office, or we can make an entire network within a whole batallion or brigade or an entire base. If we want to, we can connect with Fort Chaffee from here or even out of state, which we’ve done. HOW DO YOUR SKILLS TRANSLATE TO THE PRIVATE SECTOR? The biggest thing that people talk about if they’re National Guard and they want a civilian job is phone companies like AT&T. If you really like information technology, customer sales, all that stuff, it’s honestly pretty easy to get in if you’re military, especially the more years of experience that you have. You can work for setting up networks or in houses or commercial network. You can work in-store for customer sales. You can work behind the scenes of a store. WHAT HIGH SCHOOL CLASSES WOULD HAVE BEEN HELPFUL IN THE JOB YOU’RE DOING NOW? The biggest one that I would have taken is information technology because no matter what piece of equipment you’re working on, the physical portion is super easy to learn. It’s just like putting Legos together. The hardest part for me, that I had no experience on before I joined, is the IT portion. There are so many versions within computer programs that I still don’t understand. There are all different types of protocols with different pieces of equipment. ANY ADVICE? Growing up, my dad would always tell me this quote: ‘Grab life by the horns and never let go.’ I didn’t really understand that until I had three ACL surgeries back-to-back. I had many medical professionals doubting me and telling me you need to find some other passion and stop being so physically active. If I’d stopped at any point those four years, which were the hardest years of my life, I wouldn’t be in the Army and I wouldn’t have had the opportunities I’ve had. If you find yourself being blocked by a wall, find a way around it. BLUEPRINT | 2018 | arktimes.com 43


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? In a nutshell, 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 technical 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.

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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. • Utilize diagnostic equipment to help pinpoint problems. • Learn and apply new technology in advanced diagnostics and repairs. • Learn and abide by safety and environmental rules and procedures. Diesel techs work with a variety of tools, including: Power and machine tools including pneumatic wrenches, lathes, grinding machines and welding equipment. • Hand tools, including pliers, sockets and ratchets and screwdrivers. • High-tech equipment, including hand-held or laptop computers and oscilloscopes to diagnose problems and adjust engine functions. •

WHAT’S NEW? Diesel machinery has enjoyed major advances in technology, which have created a growth in the need for skilled technicians. Between safety regulations, environmental controls and insurance guidelines, the trucking industry has a lot of rules it must abide by. To help stay in compliance, trucking companies rely on the technology that’s built into their fleet. As a result, it’s not unusual for a new truck to have multiple computers onboard regulating everything from speed and location to fuel consumption. Some trucks are sophisticated enough to monitor their own systems and alert the operator when a problem is detected. Older trucks that didn’t have these computers installed when they were built are often overhauled with the new technology to help bring them up to speed. Farm technology is another fast-growing area where technicians are needed. Modern farm equipment can map out a field, test soil samples from different areas and apply the precise mix of fertilizer or minerals for each area. Harvesting equipment comes equipped with auto-steer, can track yields in real-time and utilizes GPS to minimize harvest guesswork.


WHERE DO DIESEL TECHS WORK? Diesel techs are employed by (among others): • Manufacturers. • Trucking companies. • Equipment dealerships. • Farm operations. • Cities and counties. Some techs may also work as inspectors to make sure equipment meets government regulations. The work environment for diesel technicians is in a repair, maintenance or garage-type facility. Some are mobile and must travel to the site of a breakdown or jobsite to provide service. In these instances, you may be required to work outside, sometimes in inclement weather. The majority of diesel techs work full-time. Some companies require on-call, night and weekend hours. Working hours may depend on your specialty; you may work on trucks as they come in for service, respond to emergency calls as they happen, or you may be responsible for the regular maintenance of a fleet of vehicles and equipment. WHAT’S THE JOB OUTLOOK? There were about 3,070 diesel technicians in Arkansas in 2016 and the Department of Labor expects that number to grow by 12 percent by 2026. That’s a job a growth rate faster than the national average. HOW MUCH CAN I MAKE? • Lower range wages (bottom 10 percent) — $26,510 annually/$12.74 per hour • Middle range wages (median) — $38,250 annually/$18.39 per hour • Higher range wages (top 10 percent) — $58,360 annually/$28.06 per hour WHAT DOES IT TAKE TO BE SUCCESSFUL? Physical skills • Ability to see things up close. • Good eye-hand coordination, able to handle/ assemble small parts with fingers only. • Ability to hear differences in the sound of engines. Physical strength Technical skills • Knowing how engine components and systems work together. • Ability to diagnose and repair machines or systems. • Understanding a variety of tools and their functions. Computer knowledge • Comfortable working with computers. • Able to read and interpret diagnostic information. • Able to work safety with electricity.

Soft skills • Detail oriented and organized. • Able to problem-solve and troubleshoot. • Good customer service and communication skills. HOW DO I LEARN THE CRAFT? Many technicians, like mechanics, learned their trade on the job but these days, many employers prefer to hire technicians who have formal education in the field. As a result, several two-year colleges in Arkansas provide educational courses ranging from six months to about two years to complete. In addition, many diesel technicians are also required to have a commercial driver’s license (CDL) which allows them to test-drive the vehicles they work on. Employers may also send experienced technicians to special training classes conducted by manufacturers and vendors to learn about the latest diesel technology, techniques and equipment. Some employers may require (and pay for) their techs to be certified by the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE). Diesel technicians may be certified in specific repair areas, such as drivetrains, electronic systems, and preventative maintenance and inspection. To earn ASE certification, technicians must have gained a certain minimum period of work experience and pass one or more ASE exams. To remain certified, diesel technicians must pass a recertification exam every few years. DIESEL TECHNICIAN PROGRAMS The following is a sample of some of the diesel technician training programs in Arkansas. For more training programs, please visit beprobeproud.com or careeronestop.org. University of Arkansas Community College, Hope, (870) 777-5722, uacch.edu Arkansas State University Newport, (870) 512-7800, asun.edu (also available at ASU campuses in Beebe and West Memphis) Northwest Technical Institute, Springdale, (479) 751-8824, nwti.edu University of Arkansas Pulaski Technical College, (501) 812-2200, pulaskitech.edu University of Arkansas Fort Smith, (479) 788-7000, uafs.edu

JEREMY GOSSETT Age: 31 Education: Arkansas State University-Beebe, U.S. Marine Corps Snapshot: Currently enrolled at ASU-Beebe’s diesel technology program. WHAT’S THE STORY OF YOUR EDUCATION THUS FAR? I went to ASU-Beebe the first time around and just did all my basic core classes. I went back into the military and back into the work force. I just got out of the military, and now I’m coming back to get a piece of paper saying that I’m proficient at diesel technology. I’ll graduate in May with my associate’s degree in diesel technology. WHY THIS FIELD? I have a big interest in diesel trucks, and I have a very big background in diesel trucks. I spent eight years in the Marine Corps working on diesel tanks, and then I went into the Army National Guard for three years working on Blackhawks [helicopters] which is not technically a diesel engine, but it runs off pretty much diesel fuel. I’ve turned wrenches all my life, so it’s just something I’m efficient at and that I kind of enjoy doing. WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU HAVE FOR SOMEONE IN HIGH SCHOOL CONSIDERING THIS CAREER FIELD? The big thing is electronics now. Learning electronics before coming into diesel technology would definitely put them above even turning wrenches. A lot of things now are all electronicbased; they’re running from computers and that’s what the younger generation has on me. They’ve gotten to use computers a lot more than I have. WHAT ARE YOUR LONG-TERM GOALS? This is one entry-level position that’s going to have a high starting salary and benefits right off the bat, instead of having to worry about student loans like with a four-year degree. Plus, I have a lot of friends who do this and we’re going to eventually open up our own shop.

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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. • Pumps and compressors. • Pile drivers. • Asphalt spreaders, concrete paving machines and rollers. 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. • Keep up-to-date on and follow safety standards. Some of the most common job titles within this category include: • Operating engineers (sometimes called hoisting or portable engineers). 46

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Internet of Things (IoT) • A sensor, or group of sensors, installed for collecting and transferring data. Whenever a product carries 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 Multi-Functionality • Construction companies are always looking for ways to get the most out of expensive equipment. • Multi-functional equipment can adapt a machine to a WHAT’S NEW? variety of tasks, such as backhoes that double as loadA construction site may not be the first place you think ers through the use of interchangeable attachments. of when you think of high-tech advancements, but the Telematics technology involved with getting buildings out of the • Used for years by trucking companies, telematics ground or building a road is light years ahead of where it keep track of the location, condition and operation was just a few years ago. of machines on the road or the jobsite. Heavy equipment is more sophisticated than ever, and • The feature uses global positioning to determine new advancements are being introduced all the time to where and how equipment is being used. make machines more versatile, more precise and, therefore, • Telematics is expected to become more commonmore economical to own and operate. Other trends include: place within the next few years.

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.


WHERE DO HEAVY EQUIPMENT Building and Construction OPERATORS WORK? • Knowledge of materials, methods and Some of the industries that utilize heavy tools involved in the construction or equipment operators include: repair of houses, buildings, highways • Earth moving and leveling. and roads. • Building construction. • Highway and runway construction. WHERE DO I LEARN THE CRAFT? • Bridge and dam construction. Many workers learn equipment opera• Utility companies. tion on the job after earning a high school • Cities and counties. diploma or equivalent, while others learn The majority of construction equipment by attending a two-year college. operators work full-time, in nearly every type Among two-year colleges, some may of weather conditions. Like all jobs that work specialize in a particular brand or type of outdoors, there is the potential to get dirty, construction equipment while others may greasy or muddy on the jobsite. incorporate sophisticated simulator training Some operators may also work in remote into their courses. This allows beginners to locations and have irregular schedules to familiarize themselves with the equipment match around-the-clock production or work in a virtual environment before operating that must be done late at night. real machines. Heavy equipment operators do not genWHAT’S THE JOB OUTLOOK? erally complete an apprenticeship program There were a little more than 3,580 heavy as workers in other trades do. In some cases, equipment operators in Arkansas in 2016 training is provided by equipment manuand the number of positions is expected to facturers, a trade union, industry groups or grow 10 percent by 2026, slightly below the private companies. national average. New operators, or operators-in-training Heavy equipment operators who are ver- may operate light equipment under the satile with several different types of equip- guidance of an experienced operator before ment will find themselves more in-demand moving up to heavier equipment such as than those who are proficient with only one bulldozers. Some construction equipment kind of rig. with computerized controls requires greater skill to operate. Operators of this equipment HOW MUCH CAN I MAKE? may need additional training and some • Lower range wages (bottom 10 percent) understanding of electronics. — $24,060 annually/$11.57 per hour Construction equipment operators often • Middle range wages (median) — need a commercial driver’s license (CDL) $35,430 annually/$17.03 per hour to haul their equipment to various jobsites • Higher range wages (top 10 percent) — and may need special licenses for operat$49,420 annually/$23.76 per hour ing specific pieces of equipment. WHAT DOES IT TAKE TO BE SUCCESSFUL? Hand-eye-foot coordination • Steady hands and feet critical to guiding and controlling heavy machinery precisely. • Must be able to maneuver big machines in tight spaces. Mechanical skills • Knowledge of machines and tools, including their designs, uses, repair and maintenance. Physical strength • Able to lift more than 50 pounds while on the job. Comfortable with heights • Pile-driver operators may need to service the pulleys located at the top of the pile-driver’s tower. • Crane operators may work on skyscrapers or bridges, which are several stories tall.

HEAVY EQUIPMENT OPERATOR EDUCATIONAL PROGRAMS The following is a sample of some of the heavy equipment programs in Arkansas. For more training programs, please visit www.careeronestop.org. University of Arkansas-Monticello, (870) 460-1026, www.uamont.edu North Arkansas College, Harrison, (870) 743-3000, www.northark.edu

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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 TECHNICIANS 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 (office buildings, retail stores). • Aerospace (working with specialty systems inside aircraft or spacecraft). • Institutional settings (hospitals, schools, airports). • Industrial/manufacturing (factories, meat processing plants). • Multi-unit living communities (apartments, barracks, dormitories). • They are also trained to install and maintain refrigeration equipment. • Restaurants. • Institutional kitchens such as school cafeterias. • Cold storage facilities. 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 of residential and commercial heating, cooling and refrigeration units. • Replace old, outdated technology with more energyefficient, greener models. • Maintain ductwork that carries air from the heating or air conditioning unit to various part of a building. • Repair systems when they break down. 48

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• • • •

Ensure proper disposal of environmentally hazardous parts and chemicals. Test for leaks in piping or venting systems and make necessary repairs. Test electrical circuits or components for proper functioning. Install and test electronic control systems.

WHAT’S NEW? Equipment manufacturers are always developing new models that run at higher efficiency, thereby saving the owners money. After-market control systems, such as the Nest, employ smart technology to help home and business owners control their HVACR systems remotely or program different heating and cooling zones to kick in at different times of the day. Today’s HVACR technicians need to stay current on these changes in order to do their jobs. Other cutting-edge equipment and systems include: Thermally-driven air conditioning • Use solar energy, backed up by natural gas on cloudy days or at night. • Solar panels generate high enough temperature to drive a double-effect chiller . • Provides a low-cost alternative to conventional air conditioning units. Ice-powered air conditioner • Another low-cost alternative to conventional air conditioning. • Freezes 450 gallons of water in a tank overnight, provides cooling for up to six hours. • Once ice melts, system switches to backup air conditioning unit.

Geothermal heat pump • Makes use of heat from the earth by way of looped piping placed into the ground. • Fluid in this piping loops absorbs heat, which is carried back indoors to provide heating. • Can also be used to supply cooling. • Advertised to be up to four times more efficient than traditional systems. Smart thermostats • Whole-house control systems that monitor and maintain climate control. • Device “learns” owner preference and automatically adjusts rooms to those settings. • Turns itself off when room is unoccupied; provides Wi-Fi enabled remote monitoring. WHERE DO HVAC TECHNICIANS WORK? A tech might work for a company that is appointmentbased, going from home to home installing and maintaining cooling systems. Or, in industrial or commercial settings, techs might report to the same job site all day long for weeks at a time. Often, a HVACR tech’s van or truck is their office and workshop rolled into one. HVACR techs may work full time, regular hours or they may be assigned at least part of the time to on-call to handle emergencies. These calls come in during business hours, on weekends and holidays, or in the middle of the night. After storms or blizzards and the normal changing of the seasons are almost guaranteed to generate a lot of overtime.


WHAT’S THE JOB OUTLOOK? There were almost 3,150 HVACR positions in Arkansas in 2016, and that number is expected to grow a whopping 18 percent by 2026. Arkansas’s job growth rate is projected to be higher than the national average for this position. To understand job growth, remember even the best HAVC system has a practical operating life of about 15 years. Imagine how many houses, apartments and commercial buildings are built or remodeled every year; that’s about how many systems need replacing. HOW MUCH CAN I MAKE? • Lower range wages (bottom 10 percent) — $23,150 annually/$11.13 per hour • Middle range wages (median) — $35,900 annually/$17.26 per hour • Higher range wages (top 10 percent) — $56,150 annually/$27.00 per hour WHAT DOES IT TAKE TO BE SUCCESSFUL? Soft skills Active listening Communication Customer service Critical thinking/troubleshooting • Detecting and figuring out the cause of a problem. • Ability to weigh different solutions to a problem. • Sound decision-making skills to choose best course of action. Mechanical/construction skills • Knowledge of machines and tools, including their use, repair and maintenance. • Knowledge of materials and methods involved in building houses and internal systems. • Knowledge of electronics and basics of electricity. Physical skills/stamina • Ability to work in dark, cramped enclosed spaces. • Strength to lift or position components weighing over 50 pounds. • Stamina to move around, kneel, squat or bend for period of time. • Manual dexterity and good close-up vision.

HOW DO I LEARN THE CRAFT? HVAC technicians require specialized training and licensing. The level of complexity of today’s systems means most employers prefer to hire workers who have received specialized instruction after high school, either through a community college or a three-to fiveyear paid apprenticeship. Apprentices acquire their skills both in the classroom and on the job, with the cost of the training often paid for by the employer. In Arkansas, HVAC technicians are also required to hold one or more licenses, depending on job responsibilities. Following your formal training, you must sit for an exam to earn your license. Additional training may be required by your employer, generally in the form of workshops or manufacturer-sponsored courses to bring techs up-to-speed on new features or equipment. HVACR APPRENTICESHIPS AND TRAINING PROGRAMS The following is a sample of some of the HVACR technician apprenticeships and training programs in Arkansas. College programs may not qualify as apprenticeships. For more training programs, please visit www.beprobeproud,org, arkansasapprenticeship. com or www.careeronestop.org. Southern Arkansas University Tech, Camden, 870574-4500, www.sautech.edu Arkansas State University-Mountain Home, (Additional locations in Beebe and Newport) 870-508-6100, www.asumh.edu University of Arkansas Community College at Morrilton, 501-977-2053, www.uaccm.edu University of Arkansas Community College at Batesville, 870-612-2000, www.uaccb.edu Plumbers and Pipefitters Apprenticeship Training of Arkansas-El Dorado (additional locations in Little Rock and Van Buren), 870-863-6169, www.ppata.com Arkansas Construction Education Foundation, Little Rock, 800-240-2730, www.myacef.org

MAHOGANY LONG Age: 22 Education: JA Fair High School, Army National Guard Job: Utilities Repair Specialist Snapshot: Entered the Army National Guard at age 18; her role maintains HVAC (heating ventilation and air conditioning) systems. WHY DID YOU CHOOSE THE MILITARY? I pretty much joined because of the money. Like, what can I do to get me where I want to be financial-wise as quickly as possible? DID YOU HAVE ANY MECHANICAL JOBS OR TRAINING IN YOUR BACKGROUND? No. In high school I was mostly [computer] programming and art. Mechanical background all came from military experience. TELL ME ABOUT YOUR JOB RESPONSIBILITIES. It’s a maintenance job and it’s pretty much a lot of outdoors. Sometimes you get lucky and find a motor pool that has a garage, but it’s mostly outdoors. Most of the time, unless it’s like something heavy, you work by yourself and it’s basically just you. You pick up a book and it says the troubleshooting process is this and if this isn’t working then you do this. It’s a lot of reading and following steps. WHAT HAVE YOU GAINED PROFESSIONALLY FOR HAVING ARMY TRAINING? When I joined, I got my 608 and 609 certificates in HVAC. By the time I got back home, I was making about $19 to $20 an hour from only what the military taught me and the certifications that they gave me. Getting my 608 and 609, universal type I, type II certifications, these are legitimate certifications that work for HVAC on the civilian side. I got those with no schooling outside of the military, they give it all to you right there. So, I was able to go and apply for HVAC positions just with what the military gave me; I was able to get a job in the private sector. They pay pretty good and it’s a place for me to start and figure out what I wanted to do from there.

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If you’re someone who likes every day to provide a different challenge – and who enjoys being multi-faceted 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. 50

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• •

• • •

• •

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 defec-

• • •

• • • •

tive parts of machines. May take apart entire machines to relocate them or make room for new equipment. Disassemble, categorize and package each part of the machine. These projects can take a few hours or can take several weeks. Use a variety of tools, including: Hand tools (hammers, levels, wrenches). Measuring (micrometers, measuring tapes, lasers). Transport/placement (cranes, trucks, forklifts, hoists, winches, cranes). Welding, brazing and cutting equipment.

WHAT’S NEW? Daily duties As already stated, industrial maintenance jobs offer a high degree of variety, as these skilled workers must be ready to handle anything that breaks unexpectedly. A per-


son who demands predictability in their day and the ability to stick to rigidly planned activities will not do well in this job as every day is truly a new challenge. Technology Just like every other type of machine, factory and manufacturing equipment is more complex, thanks to computerized controls and mechanisms. Industrial maintenance workers have to stay up-to-date with the latest equipment in order to detect problems, fix issues and in some cases, disassemble and reassemble machines entirely. WHERE DO INDUSTRIAL MAINTENANCE TECHNICIANS WORK? The vast majority of these skilled professionals work in a manufacturing or industrial plant. A small percentage work for companies that specialize in industrial repair and maintenance. Most of these technicians are employed full-time during regular business hours, but they may also serve on-call, night or weekend shift. The majority of work is typically performed indoors. Workers must follow safety precautions and usually wear some form of protective equipment, such as hardhats, safety glasses, steel-toed shoes, gloves and earplugs. WHAT’S THE JOB OUTLOOK? The outlook in this sector is bright. There were 5,180 industrial machinery mechanics jobs in Arkansas in 2016, jobs that are expected to grow 13 percent by 2026, well ahead of the national average. HOW MUCH CAN I MAKE? Industrial machinery mechanics • Lower Range (bottom 10 percent) — $31,190 annually / $15.00 per hour • Middle Range (median) — $45,270 annually / $21.76 per hour • Upper Range (top 10 percent) — $68,650 annually / $33.01 per hour

Machinery maintenance workers Flexibility • Lower Range (bottom 10 percent) — • Able to react to unexpected or emer$25,660 annually / $12.34 per hour gency situations. • Middle Range (median) — $41,580 • Effective time management. annually / $19.99 per hour • Prioritization of tasks in order of impor• Upper Range (top 10 percent) — $59,520 tance. annually / $28.62 per hour Millwrights HOW DO I LEARN THE CRAFT? • Lower Range (bottom 10 percent) — Most workers in this field have at least a $27,660 annually / $13.30 per hour high school diploma and, depending on the • Middle Range (median) — $39,660 position, may complete some post-secondannually / $19.07 per hour ary education up to an associate’s degree. • Upper Range (top 10 percent) — Industrial maintenance programs are gen$61,060 annually / $29.35 per hour erally offered through community colleges and may include courses such as welding, WHAT DOES IT TAKE mathematics, hydraulics and pneumatics. TO BE SUCCESSFUL? Industrial machinery mechanics may Mechanical skills receive more than a year of on-the-job train• Knowledge of machines and tools, ing and often receive some college courseincluding their design, use and main- work as well. tenance. Machinery maintenance worker on-theProduction/processing methods job training typically lasts a few months to • Knowledge of raw materials, produc- a year. They also typically complete some tion processes, quality control and college coursework. other aspects of manufacturing and Most millwrights go through an apprendistributing goods. ticeship program that lasts about four years, Math skills after which they can usually perform tasks • Arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calcu- with less guidance. Employers, local unions lus, statistics. and contractor associations typically sponRepair/maintenance skills sor apprenticeship programs. • Repairing machines or systems using the right tools. • Planning and performing basic maintenance on equipment. Operation monitoring • Reading gauges, dials or display screens to make sure a machine is working. • Recognizing irregularities in a machine’s operation. Troubleshooting/diagnosis • Figuring out why equipment, machines, wiring or computer programs are malfunctioning. • Deciding on the right course of action • Testing outcomes and adjusting accordingly.

INDUSTRIAL MAINTENANCE APPRENTICESHIP AND EDUCATIONAL PROGRAMS: The following is a sample of some of the industrial maintenance apprenticeship and training programs in Arkansas. For more options, please visit www.careeronestop.org. Arkansas State Carpenters JATC, Russellville, 479-967-4240, www.southernstatesmillwrights.org College of the Ouachitas, Malvern, 501-337-5000, www.coto.edu/pages/ Ouachita-Career-Center Southeast Arkansas College, Pine Bluff, 870-543-5900, www.seark.edu University of Arkansas Community College, Batesville, 870-612-2000, www.uaccb.edu

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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 computerand mechanically controlled machine tools to fashion raw materials like metal and plastic into precision parts and instruments. Their tools include: • Lathes. • Milling machines. • Drills and drill presses. • Grinders. Day to day responsibilities include: • Align, secure and adjust cutting tools and workpieces. • Monitor the feed and speed of machines. • Turn, mill, drill, shape and grind machine parts to specifications. • Measure, examine and test completed products for defects. • Smooth the surfaces of parts or products. Many machinists today must be able to use both manual and computer numerical control (CNC) machinery. CNC machines provide computerized control of equipment used to make all the necessary cuts to create a part. Machinists determine the cutting path, speed of the cut and feed rate by programming instructions into the CNC machine. 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. 52

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Hydraulic parts, antilock brakes and automobile pistons Working in specialized metals are other examples of the components machinists make. • Machinists work in space age and exotic materials Some machinists repair or make new parts for existincluding titanium, carbon fiber and industrial plastics. ing machinery. • These materials each require specialized applications, Because most machinists train in CNC programming, machining techniques, handling and tools. they may also write basic programs and often modify programs. WHERE DO MACHINISTS WORK? These modifications, called offsets, fix problems and The vast majority of machinists work in manufacturing improve efficiency by reducing manufacturing time and industries and independent machine shops. Maintenance tool wear. machinists work in most industries that use machinery in manufacturing plants. WHAT’S NEW? Machinists generally work a 40-hour week with evening Technology and weekend shifts becoming more common. Overtime • Some newer machines use lasers, water jets or elec- is common during peak production periods. trified wires to cut the workpiece. Most machine shops are relatively clean, well-lit and • New types of machine tools, materials and techniques ventilated and many computer-controlled machines are are being introduced constantly. partially or totally enclosed. • Machinists must keep up with the changes in techExposure to noise, debris and lubricants are greatly nology to stay current in their jobs. minimized. Workers must follow safety precautions, including wearSustainable manufacturing ing safety glasses and earplugs. • Concepts which look for processes that improve the Some machines feature automated loaders, automatic energy efficiency of cutting and forming. tool changers and computer controls, which allows • Using greener processes for machine tools, minimiz- machines to operate without anyone present. One proing materials waste and hazardous byproducts. duction machinist, working eight hours a day, might perform tasks on several CNC machines at once. Aerospace manufacturing technologies In the off hours of 24-hour operations, known as “lights• Includes the use of new materials, machining tech- out manufacturing,” a factory may need only a few machinnology and tools, production planning and repair ists to monitor the entire factory. processes for aircraft manufacturing.


WHAT’S THE JOB OUTLOOK? Mechanical/technical skills There were just under 2,620 machinist • Machinists must be able to operate jobs in Arkansas in 2016 and the outlook various machines and tools to comfor job growth is good. Analysts predict plete their work. these jobs will grow 4 percent by 2026. • They also must understand computThis demand is in part because so many erized measuring machines and metpeople in the workplace are reaching alworking processes, such as stock retirement age. removal, chip control and heat treating and plating. HOW MUCH CAN I MAKE? • Lower range wages (bottom 10 per- HOW DO I LEARN THE CRAFT? cent) — $24,380 annually/$11.72 per After earning a high school diploma or hour equivalent, some machinists learn entirely • Middle range wages (median) — on the job. Others acquire skills in a mix of $38,350 annually/$18.44 per hour classroom and on-the-job training. • Higher range wages (top 10 percent) Formal training programs, typically — $60,390 annually/$29.03 per hour sponsored by a union or manufacturer, are an excellent way to learn the job. Individual wages can fluctuate by industry, Training programs are often a comexperience and skill level. Machinists can bination paid shop training and related advance in their careers in several ways: classroom instruction and depending on • Become CNC programmers. the program can take months or years. • Become tool and die or mold makers. Two-year college programs range from • Be promoted to supervisory or admin- a couple of months to two years. istrative positions. In Arkansas, machinists don’t gener• Open your own machine shop. ally serve an apprenticeship like other trades do. WHAT DOES IT TAKE TO BE SUCCESSFUL? MACHINIST EDUCATIONAL Physical strength/stamina PROGRAMS • Modern factories use autoloaders and The following is just a sample of some overhead cranes to reduce heavy lift- of the machinist training programs in ing, but machinists still routinely lift Arkansas. For more training programs, moderately heavy workpieces. please visit www.beprobeproud.com or • The job also requires stamina because www.careeronestop.org. machinists stand most of the day. Analytical and mathematical skills University of Arkansas Community • Machinists must understand tech- College at Hope, (870) 777-5722, nical blueprints, models and speci- uacch.edu fications so they can craft precision metal parts. Arkansas Northeastern College, Bly• CAD/CAM technology, CNC theville, (870) 762-1020, anc.edu machine tools and computerized measuring machines all require good Black River Technical College-Pocamath skills. hontas, (870) 248-4000, • Algebra and trigonometry are espe- blackrivertech.org cially useful to a machinist. Attention to detail Rich Mountain Community College, • Machinists’ work must be accurate; Mena, (479) 394-7622, rmcc.edu in fact, some machined parts may demand accuracy to within .0001 of National Apprenticeship Training an inch. Foundation, Arkadelphia, (870) 246-0320, natf.us

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F

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. 54

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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.

• • • • • • • • • • •

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.

HOW DO I GET INTO THE RIGHT JOB? The military utilizes 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. The test results don’t dictate what field you go into, but they give you an idea of what you might be successful at. It can often open a door to a field you’ve never considered. “I work in a JNN, which is a Joint Network Node; I basically just run the network for the Army,” said Kayleigh White, 20, a member of the U.S. Army National Guard from Cabot. “We provide connectivity, and I make sure that people have telephone services and network so that they can contact other people.” “I didn’t have any particular experience in computers or electronics; not at all. This was definitely a brandnew field for me, but it has opened up many windows of opportunity.” WHAT HAPPENS NEXT? After basic training, you’re sent to tech school to receive the specialized training for your field. The job you choose determines the location where you’re sent. Formal training varies with the job selected and can last anywhere from a few weeks to several months. Continuing education in the military is commonplace to stay up on new technology and to prepare for changes in job responsibilities. Previous experience in any given

field is not a prerequisite for a career in the military. “Before I joined the military, I had no mechanical experience,” said Treshawn Hall, 25, diesel mechanic with the U.S. Army National Guard. “I never turned a wrench before the military. I never had a reason to. I was a band student. But as long as you have good problem-solving skills and you can process information, you’ll be just fine.” 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 shorten 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.

WHAT CAN I EARN IN THE MILITARY? Military benefits are excellent both while you’re in and after you get out. They include: • A guaranteed paycheck and cash bonuses. • Education benefits. • Advanced and specialty training. • 30 days annual paid vacation. • Travel. • Option for full-time or part time service. • Tax-free room, board and allowances. • Health and dental care. • Use of commissary and military exchange stores. • Special home loans and discounts.

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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. 56

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Pipefitters and steamfitters The primary difference between pipefitters and steamfitters is pipefitters specialize in pipe systems that move liquids which 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. • Both jobs may work in power and industrial plants, installing and maintaining pipe systems used for industrial purposes. •

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? Just like every other industry, plumbing has become increasingly complex thanks to technology and, as a result, plumbers today are installing more efficient and advanced systems. These include: “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 jobsite. 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) — $25,520 annually/$12.27 per hour • Middle range wages (median) — $39,940 annually/$19.20 per hour • Higher range wages (top 10 percent) — $61,120 annually/$29.38 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 this own business versus working for an established firm, potential earnings are limited only by your skill, customer service and work ethic.

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 four- to five-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. PLUMBING APPRENTICESHIPS & TRAINING PROGRAMS The following is just a sample of some of the plumbing training and apprenticeship programs in Arkansas. Not all college programs that teach plumbing concepts qualify as apprenticeships. For a complete list of training programs, please visit beprobeproud.com, arkansasapprenticeship.com or careeronestop.org. Arkansas Construction Education Foundation (ACEF), Little Rock, 501-372-1590, myacef.org Central Arkansas Apprenticeship Committee for the Plumbing Industry, multiple Arkansas training sites, 501-231-6471, Email: pcmpa@aol.com

WHAT DOES IT TAKE TO BE SUCCESSFUL? Mechanical ability • Knowledge of machines and tools, including their use, repair and maintenance. Plumbers and Pipefitters Apprenticeship • Knowledge of water systems and their upkeep . Training of Arkansas, Little Rock Training CenBuilding and Construction expertise ter, (additional training sites in El Dorado and • Knowledge of materials, methods and the Van Buren) 501-562-4482, ppata.com tools used in construction. • Comprehensive understanding of regulations NWA Plumbing School, Springdale, and building codes. 479-790-4623, Email: kesharp@uark.edu Design skills • Knowledge of design techniques and prin- Black River Community College, ciples concerning technical plans, blueprints, Pocahontas, 870-248-4000, blackrivertech.org drawings and models.

HUNTER CADY Age: 20 Education: Associates’ degree, Western Arkansas Technical Center at UA Fort Smith Job: Apprentice Pipefitter, Action Mechanical Snapshot: While in high school, completed a welding course through USFA; upon being hired at Action, the company paid for his apprenticeship. WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR DAILY JOB REQUIREMENTS? I work with pipe of different sizes, getting the pipe ready for the welders. I level up pipe, take measurements, cut it with a torch. I do some work inside and some work outside., it just depends on what needs to be done. Really, it’s a lot of team stuff. It’s very rare to be working by yourself. HOW LONG WILL YOUR PLUMBING APPRENTICESHIP TAKE TO COMPLETE? HOW OFTEN ARE YOU IN CLASS? I attend class two nights a week; the apprenticeship takes four years. WHAT ARE YOU GOALS IN THE INDUSTRY? DO YOU LIKE WORKING FOR A COMPANY, OR WOULD YOU LIKE TO GO OUT ON YOUR OWN SOMEDAY? I enjoy being in a corporate setting; it’s really good work, and I meet lots of people. I get to travel all over the place, but I’m still home every night. You can make great money at it, especially if you travel. You can make more money going out on your own, starting your own company, but I just haven’t got to that point yet. Maybe in the future. WHAT WOULD YOU TELL YOUNG PEOPLE WHO ARE CONSIDERING THIS LINE OF WORK? WHAT’S IMPORTANT FOR THEIR SUCCESS? You have to have a good work ethic, be able to work with others and have a good attitude about everything. Companies don’t want people with a bad attitude when they don’t get their way. That’s not how it works out here. You gotta be able to adjust to any environment and situation.

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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. 58

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Industrial engineering technician hours to monitor laboratory or plant operations during Industrial engineering technicians assist industrial engi- second and third shifts. neers in devising efficient systems to make a product or provide a service. Industrial engineering technicians typi- WHAT’S THE JOB OUTLOOK? cally do the following: According to the Department of Labor, there were 670 • Suggest revisions to methods of operation, material chemical technician jobs in 2016, a category that is expected handling, or equipment layout. to grow to 730 in ten years. This is nearly double the rate • Interpret engineering drawings, schematic diagrams of growth nationally. and formulas. Additionally, there were 350 industrial engineering tech• Confer with management or engineering staff to deter- nician jobs in Arkansas in 2016 and that number is expected mine quality and reliability standards. to increase 6 percent to 370 jobs by 2026. This is also well • Help plan work assignments, taking into account above the national rate of growth for this same job. workers’ performance, the capabilities of machines, and production schedules. HOW MUCH CAN I MAKE? • Prepare charts, graphs, and diagrams to illustrate Chemical technicians workflow, routing, floor layouts, how materials are • Lower range (bottom 10 percent) — handled, and how machines are used. $27,920 annually/$13.42 per hour • Collect data to assist in process improvement activities. • Middle Range (median) — • Study the time and steps workers take to do a task $42,360 annually/$20.36 per hour through time and motion studies. Set reasonable • Upper range (top 10 percent) — production rates by considering how workers per$70,210 annually/$33.75 form operations such as maintenance, production, and service. Industrial Technicians • Lower Range (bottom 10 percent) — WHERE DO PROCESS TECHNICIANS WORK? $33,780 annually/$16.24 per hour Process technicians typically work full-time and inside, • Middle Range (median) — either in a factory, a lab, or some other kind of manufactur$45,190 annually/$21.73 per hour ing setting. They generally work regular business hours; • Upper Range (top 10 percent) — however, some overtime may be required to meet project $62,540 annually/$30.07 per hour deadlines. Process technicians may also work irregular


Arkansas State University – Newport, asun.edu, (870) 512-7800

Phillips Community College of U of A, Helena, AR, pccua.edu, (870) 338-7542 South Arkansas Community College, El Dorado, AR, southark.edu, 870.862.8131

What can Arkansas Apprenticeship do for you?

With a statewide increase of 2,400+ apprentices leading to an increase of an additional 30 U.S. DoL registered apprenticeship programs, employers are finding apprenticeship an alternative means to access, develop, and retain skilled talent.

National Park College, Hot Springs, AR, np.edu, (501) 760-4222

ARCareerEd.org/Apprenticeship

INDUSTRIAL: Mechanical skills • Knowledge of machines and tools, including their designs, uses, repair, and maintenance. Engineering/technology concepts • Knowledge of the practical application of engineering science and technology. This includes applying principles, techniques, procedures, and equipment to the design and production of various goods and services. Production/processing concepts • Knowledge of raw materials, production processes, quality control, costs, and other techniques for maximizing the effective manufacture and distribution of goods. Mathematics • Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, and statistics. Design • Knowledge of design techniques, tools, and principles involved in production of precision technical plans, blueprints, drawings, and models. Deductive and Inductive Reasoning • Using rules to solve problems and making general rules or answers from detailed information. Complex Problem Solving • Noticing a problem and figuring out the best way to solve it using critical thinking to weigh pros and cons. Monitoring • Keeping track of how well people and/or groups are doing in order to make improvements.

PROCESS TECHNOLOGY EDUCATIONAL PROGRAMS The following is a sample of some of the process technology educational programs in Arkansas. For more options, please visit careeronestop.org.

Adult Education | Arkansas Rehabilitation Services | Career & Technical Education | Office of Skills Development

WHAT DOES IT TAKE TO BE SUCCESSFUL? CHEMICAL: STEM concepts • Using scientific rules and strategies to solve problems. • Particular knowledge required in chemical composition, structure, and properties of substances, chemical processes and transformations. • Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications. Critical Thinking • Thinking about the pros and cons of different ways to solve a problem. Information Ordering • Ordering or arranging things. Monitoring • Keeping track of how well people and/or groups are doing in order to make improvements. Deductive/Inductive Reasoning • Using rules to solve problems and coming up with answers from lots of detailed information.

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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. 60

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GTAW (Gas Tungsten Arc Welding) • Commonly known as TIG (Tungsten Inert Gas) weld- • ing. • 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 specific dimensions. • Cutters also take apart large objects, such as ships, railroad cars, boilers and aircraft using special high strength cutting materials. • Some cutters operate and monitor cutting machines in industrial settings. Solderers/brazers • Use heat to join two or more metal objects together. • Soldering and brazing are similar, except that the

temperature used in soldering is lower. Soldering is used to make electrical and electronic circuit boards, such as computer chips. Brazing used to connect cast iron and thinner metals that would warp under the high temperature of welding. Brazing also can be used to apply various coatings to parts to reduce wear and corrosion.

WHERE DO WELDERS WORK? As the most common and most permanent way of joining pieces together, welding is a trade that performs work as a stand-alone component of larger projects or is used within another trade. Plumbers are generally trained in the basics of welding in order to perform pipefitting tasks. Other industries use welding as part of their overall operations including body shops, sheet metal, shipyards and boiler making operations. A welder may work on a building or bridge construction site (either indoors or outdoors) which exposes them to working in all kinds of weather. They may also be required to work several stories above the ground on steel building structure or bridges. Other welders work in a metal shop or garage-like area which is generally climate controlled. Still other welders work in a factory or industrial setting where they handle maintenance and fabrication tasks as they come up.


Welders generally work full-time and it’s not uncommon for them to work a lot of overtime to stay ahead of production schedules, particularly in construction. In some industrial settings, welders may be employed on overnight shifts. Welding tools and materials present a number of dangers that all welders have to take seriously. Protective equipment such as welder’s mask, apron and gloves are essential Proper ventilation must be maintained at all times. Welding gases must also be carefully regulated to ensure safe operation. WHAT’S THE JOB OUTLOOK? There were just 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 job, meaning a general slowdown in building projects can mean periods of unemployment. The more mobile a welder is the more easily he or she may find additional projects. HOW MUCH CAN I MAKE? • Lower range wages (bottom 10 percent) — $26,080 annually/$12.54 per hour • Middle range wages (median) — $36,620 annually/$17.61 per hour • Higher range wages (top 10 percent) — $60,460 annually/$29.07 per hour

HOW DO I LEARN THE CRAFT? Some high schools have beginner welding programs as part of automotive or shop classes, which can give students a head start on their education. Most welders have a high school diploma or equivalent and a professional certification, which can be earned through a community college, a private training program or welding courses sponsored by industry groups or trade unions. Welding programs can be a few months long or they can be an apprenticeship lasting four or five years. They can be full-time classes like any other college curriculum or, in the case of many apprenticeship-type training programs, are held one or two nights a week while the student works full-time for a welding company, thereby also learning on the job. Another advantage of the work-study nature of apprenticeship programs is most employers pay for the training as an employee benefit. WELDING APPRENTICESHIP & EDUCATIONAL PROGRAMS The following is a sample of some of the welding training and apprenticeship programs in Arkansas. For more training programs, please visit www. beprobeproud.com, www.arkansasapprenticeship. com or www.careeronestop.org. Plumbers and Pipefitters Apprenticeship Training of Arkansas, El Dorado (additional locations in Van Buren and Little Rock), 870-863-6169, www.ppata.com

Arkansas Welding Academy, Jacksonville, WHAT DOES IT TAKE TO BE 501-982-9353, arkansasweldingacademy.com SUCCESSFUL? Physical Strength and Dexterity Black River Technical College, Paragould • Arm-Hand steadiness and coordination. (additional location in Pocahontas), 870-239-0969, • Ability to lift heavy raw materials and equip- blackrivertech.org ment. • Stamina to work under the weight of protec- Arkansas Tech University, Ozark, 866-225-2884, tive gear, standing or bending for long periods. www.atu.edu/ozark Vision • Good near-vision is important to see details Northwest Technical Institute, Springdale, up close. 479-751-8824, www.nwti.edu Attention to Detail • Noticing when problems happen. University of Arkansas at Monticello College of • Taking quick corrective action. Technology, Crossett, 870-364-6414, www.uamont. edu/pages/department/college-technology-crossett Phillips Community College, University of Arkansas, Dewitt (additional locations in Stuttgart and Helena-West Helena) 870-946-3506, www.pccua.edu

JESSICA ZMITROVITCH Age: 27 Education: North Little Rock High School Snapshot: After trying a couple of other jobs following high school, Zmitrovitch returned to an activity she enjoyed – welding – and signed on with Caterpillar in North Little Rock. She now spends her eight-hour shifts operating and troubleshooting the plant’s robotic welders. AT WHAT POINT DID YOU DISCOVER WELDING AND DECIDE YOU WANTED TO PURSUE IT FULL TIME? In high school, I had the opportunity to take a welding class and I also had the opportunity to take an automotive class. I really enjoyed it. The rest of my education in the welding came here with Caterpillar. I’ve been with Caterpillar for six months now. DID YOU HAVE ANY OTHER MECHNICAL BACKGROUND? I like working with my hands and mechanical things. I always grew up with my dad being mechanically inclined. He worked on his own vehicles and he was an engineer. WHAT IS YOUR DAY LIKE? Usually, my day consists of being out on the floor. I talk to the guys out there, ask them how the robot’s been running, if there are any issues. They’ll tell me like ‘Hey, I noticed this is kind of weird. It’s not how it usually does,’ so I check in on that. I’ve also had the opportunity to do a lot of programming, which is new to me, but I really enjoy it. Building the medium-wheel loaders I got to watch as our line has been built and got to program some of the robots. These are their first robots that have been on the floor. IS HANDS-ON WELDING NOT PART OF YOUR TYPICAL DAY? I don’t get to be hands-on very much. The robot does all the welding, but I get to tell it the right angle, the right speed and all that. I’m very happy here and I really enjoy it. WHAT’S IT LIKE TO BE A WOMAN IN WHAT’S TRADITIONALLY BEEN AN EXTREMELY MALEDOMINATED FIELD? I’ve always had a really good experience. I’ve never really had a negative experience in that aspect. I am the only female robot technician on my crew, but there are other female welders who I see daily and I talk to. It’s always been fun for me.

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If you’ve got a skill in anything, if you’ve got that one card saying Hey., this is what I am – journeyman, plumber, electrician, welder – you’ve got a job anywhere. That’s something to be proud of. You’re helping build buildings that are going to be there for years. It’s pretty much a landmark. You get to drive by it and be proud, like, I helped build that. I get to see things like that all the time when I drive by. It is very dirty work sometimes. It’s not all rainbows and butterflies. It’s physically demanding. You do work out in the sun. You work out in the rain and the cold, and it’s not fun, but you’ve got to man-up and do it. The thing is, you’re helping build America better. Russell Baggett, plumber Action Mechanical I definitely suggest [to] try and get into college [technical] classes, while you’re in high school because it was a lot of help. I was always a hands-on person. That’s how I learned, and I got to try a couple different things to figure out what I wanted to do. That was a key part of it; you get the experience. It’s right there. You’re not reading it out of a book. They do a lot of coding and stuff like that now. I didn’t have the opportunity to do that in high school, but I wish that I’d had that opportunity. Working with welding robots, that’s a lot of what you do. You’re programming it to do those welds. Jessica Zmitrovitch, welder Caterpillar Working in some type of social interaction environment is super important experience for a high schooler. We work with contractors all the time out here. Not only contractors, but with each other. There is a small group of guys that work at this facility, that run and maintain this facility. Being able to get along with people and communicate what you want and what you expect, there’s no more important thing than that. If you are not a team player, you’re not going to make it in this environment. Andrew Lisenby, plant relief operator Arkansas Electrical Cooperative Corporation A lot of people, when they think construction, they think it’s digging a ditch or toting blocks and laying brick. But there are so many different areas that a person can go into in construction. Yeah, they may start out as a laborer, but they can work themselves up to superintendent or a foreman’s position. It’s not just digging a ditch, I can assure you. We’ve got guys walking around on job sites now with iPads. We’ve got machinery now that you’ve got to have some computer skills to be able to operate and program. Plus, it’s an earn-while-you-learn model. Kids aren’t going to have a ton of student debt; they’re not going to have any debt. All of our members pay for all of the training. Construction is just a great opportunity. Bill Roachell, president Associated Builders and Contractors

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You do have to have your priorities in order when you’re going to school and you’re going to work. Work is school itself. You’re trying to comprehend and analyze everything that’s going on so you can apply it to your future job. Then when you go to school, sometimes they’re on two different paces you have to comprehend and sometimes that does get challenging. I know I need school to make [me] go further in life, so I push myself. I’ve worked very hard my whole entire life. I started working when I was 11 years old and that helped me with the physical part and it helped me with the want and desire to achieve my goal. Clarance Myrick, industrial electrician student Arkansas Northeastern College Don’t be scared of a two-year university. Everyone thinks if you don’t go to a four-year, you’re not going to succeed and no one is going to want to hire you, and that’s not the truth. Four-year schools aren’t for everybody and it’s not a bad thing that they’re not for everybody. Coming from high school I didn’t know exactly what I wanted to do; I was actually planning to go to a four-year college to get my degree in electrical engineering or something like that. But once I started looking at the numbers and seeing how much it would add up so quickly, I just couldn’t make myself go into that debt. Seth Wyatt, student intern Arkansas Northeastern College/Nucor Steel At the end of the day you’ve got to love what you do. If your heart is not in it, it doesn’t matter how smart you are or how trained you are, you’re going to give up on it. If you’re heart’s there and you love it, that’s the most important thing that I find in anybody that’s successful in my business or a related construction field. I know as soon as I meet them if their heart’s in it or if they’re just here for a job. If they’re just here for a paycheck you can tell. That to me is what success means. I get up in the morning, I love my job, and I get a paycheck to do it. I go home and I’m happy. Daniel Menden, owner Menco Construction If you have a passion for something it doesn’t matter if other people are doubting you; it doesn’t matter if they tell you that you can’t do this or they think that this is better for you. If you know that’s what you want and you know that’s what’s best for you don’t stop at all until you get what you want. Tabitha Dillman, signal support systems specialist U.S. Army National Guard


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THINKBIG!THINKACTION! Action, Inc. is one of the largest commercial mechanical contractors in Arkansas

Our Plumbing Apprenticeship Program Consists of: $5000 tiered bonus - 100% tuition paid 100% of books paid - 100% Apprentice License paid You would be a full time employee and would receive competitive pay - excellent benefits - PTO - 401k with 50% match - continuing education and more!

Action-Mechanical.com Watch the “About Us” video on our website to learn more! Ph. 479-452-5723

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Profile for Arkansas Times

Arkansas Times | Blueprint | 2018  

Arkansas Times | Blueprint | 2018