SEARK exploring possibility of adding vocational courses


In an effort to fill a practical need, Southeast Arkansas College is exploring the feasibility of offering vocational courses in areas such as mechanics, electrical work, culinary arts, carpentry, plumbing, physical therapy, HVAC, painting, lawn care and cosmetology.

“Technical education is important to support our growing economy, so offering vocational training courses are of the utmost importance to SEARK College,” said Kaleybra Morehead, vice president of academic affairs. “As we see an upswing in our economy, we will also see these skills in higher demand.”

These courses are not part of a degree program, and will begin once enough students have expressed an interest for a particular subject, she said. It is too soon to specify a time frame.

“If there is enough interest in these vocational technical skills non-credit courses, the students may be encouraged to take a credit degree course,” Morehead said via email. “This will assist the college in planning and future development of our technical courses and programs. We are using these courses to get a pulse on the needs of our students and the community.”

The college mailed a Skills Needed Survey to its students, employees, supporters, industry leaders and business leaders to gauge interest in such courses. The survey can be accessed at http://www.seark.edu/sites/default/files/upload/Skills.pdf for a few more weeks. College faculty members are evaluating the surveys now.

“Our technical faculty are experts in their fields and they provide practical knowledge necessary for our students,” Morehead said. “Once we see the community interest, we will figure out the feasibility of offering these courses.”

Appliances that are used every day need require professionals for installation, maintenance,and service.

“Learning how to change a washer in a faucet or replace a toilet may be the very thing to entice students to consider a certificate or degree in that area,” she said.

These courses are being offered through the Workforce Development Center and have not been offered in recent years, she said. For additional information on the non-credit courses, please call Wanda Lindsey, the college’s Workforce Development Center Director, at 870-543-5947.