Pictured: UACCH Chancellor and Corps of Engineers stop for picture in Blakely Mountain Power House Control Room with Kurt Caldwell who will be the first student to participate in the new partnership between the Corps of Engineers and UACCH.  Pictured Left to Right:  Chris Thomason, Chancellor of UACCH; Brenda Meeks, Vicksburg District Corps of Engineers; Kurt Caldwell, Student Career Experience Participant; Randy Sanders, UACCH Dean of Technical and Industrial Professions; and Dusty Wilson, Power Project Manager for Vicksburg Corps of Engineers.   

Chris Thomason, Chancellor of the University of Arkansas Community College at Hope, recently met with representatives from the Vicksburg District of the US Army Corps of Engineers to establish a partnership between UACCH and the US Army Corps of Engineers. This partnership will allow a student in the federal Student Career Experience Program to pursue the Associates of Applied Science in Power Plant Technology at UACCH. The Power Plant Technology program at UACCH, which focuses on electrical power generation, has proven to be a needed curriculum for multiple industries across this region.

The Vicksburg District of the US Army Corps of Engineers operates three of the 16 hydroelectric plants in Arkansas which include Blakely Mountain at Lake Ouachita, Narrows at Lake Greeson, and DeGray at Lake DeGray. The Corps of Engineers contacted UACCH when the Power Plant Technology program became available and expressed an interest in having their trainees a part of this program.

Dusty Wilson, Power Project Manager for the Vicksburg District of the US Army Corps of Engineers, said, “We are pleased that UACCH has established the Power Plant Technology program. We feel it will be a key element in training future employees to operate and maintain our hydropower facilities.”

The Associates of Applied Science in Power Plant Technology Program is designed for entry-level employment in the operation of facilities where steam and/or electricity is generated; such as modern fossil fuel power plants, food processing plants, paper mills, tire and rubber product manufacturers, water treatment facilities, or other. Graduates will master the theories and responsibilities of plant operations and the mechanical and chemical technologies needed for working in related industrial operations. All participants in the program must successfully complete the courses listed in the first year of study, referred to as the “Core”. Upon completion of the core, students must select a major emphasis from one of the four options. They are: Power Plant Operation, Electrical and Instrument Tech, Welding, or Machinist.

Chancellor Chris Thomason said, “UACCH is extremely proud of our partnership with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. That partnership is direct evidence of the high quality of our Power Plant Technology Program design and our commitment to effective student learning. The Corps represents the highest standard of efficient and effective operation in their mission. UACCH will benefit just from the association with such an impressive organization. More important, our students and their employees will have a tremendous career opportunity through this collaboration. The Corps has high expectations of their employees, while providing them with the highest level of support. I am confident that our Power Plant Technology Program and this partnership will benefit the Corps on both counts.”

The first student to participate in this partnership is Kurt Caldwell of Murfreesboro. Kurt has worked for the Corps of Engineers at Lake Greeson and will be attending classes here at UACCH this Spring Semester. For more information about UACCH and the work we are doing to be the bridge to a brighter future, visit our website at www.uacch.edu.