EUREKA SPRINGS, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — The American Electric Power (AEP) Foundation announced on March 30, the Carroll County Resource Council will receive a $50,000 grant to support the Eureka Springs Job Skills Learning Center, according to a SWEPCO press release.
The release states, the AEP Foundation is funded by American Electric Power (NYSE: AEP) and its utility operating units, including Southwestern Electric Power Co. (SWEPCO), which serves approximately 119,000 customers in Arkansas.
“This is a very timely project that is much needed in Eureka Springs, particularly in light of recent national events,” Carroll County Resource Council Executive Director Rob Kerby said. “The Eureka Springs economy is dependent on tourism – given its location in the Ozarks and the beauty and history of the area.”
However, there is a dramatic need for health care workers. In the off-season, there is significant unemployment. This project will help Eureka Springs meet both challenges.Rob Kerby, Carroll County Resource Council Executive Director
The grant is a match requirement for a federal $62,176 Rural Utilities Service Distance Learning and Telemedicine grant as well as boosting the project over the top to meet a $100,000 grant secured by a local business leader, according to the release.
The Handley Family Foundation is pleased to confirm our commitment to provide matching funds.Cathy Handley
Together, the AEP Foundation, USDA and Handley grants provide for the creation of two distance-learning teleconferences “Zoom Room” classrooms at the center and a 24-station computer center for job skills students taking online vocational-technical training courses, the release states.
The grants also provide for a hospital-room mockup for training Certified Nursing Assistants (CNA).
CNA classes will be offered through North Arkansas College (NAC) in Harrison, accredited through the North Arkansas Partnership for Health Education (NAPHE), according to the release.
The “Zoom Rooms” will enable Eureka Springs students to attend classes offered at NAC without traveling to NAC’s Harrison or Berryville campuses.
The computer center will allow Eureka Springs students to take part in online vocational courses offered nationwide, the release states.
“We are pleased to present this grant to the Carroll County Resource Council on behalf of the AEP Foundation,” Fayetteville SWEPCO External Affairs Manager Jeff Milford said. “The council has great partnerships pursuing important workforce development initiatives, and we are proud to support their efforts.”