Rick Massengale says going back to school in 1991 was one of the best decisions he made during the recession.
“I was a single dad with three teenage kids. We lived on pinto beans and bologna for a while, but we’ve come out of it,” Massengale said.
With his new skills from school, Massengale was able to expand his education and now works at North Arkansas College as the Vice President of Academic and Student Affairs.
And now he’s encouraging people to take free online courses to grow their skill sets.
“This is not a time to let your personal pride get in the way,” Massengale said.
North Arkansas College is teaming up with the Northwest Arkansas Economic Development District to provide free online classes in IT, math, industrial safety, and communications.
Each course is a couple hours a week for four weeks, and there are no age requirements. You just need to live in one of nine Arkansas counties: Baxter, Benton, Boone, Carroll, Madison, Marion, Newton, Searcy and Washington.
“Help them in their lives so they are able to make more money, so they can have a better quality of life. That’s just the best thing ever,” said Patty Methvin, the Workforce Administrative Director for NWAEDD.
The development district is using a federal grant to pay for the courses.
“Getting themselves better prepared to go back to work possibly at a new employer. Walk in with some credentials,” Methvin said.
Massengale said he understands these are uncertain times and that it’s not easy to start something new. But he says it’ll be worth it in the end.
“There’s people right now watching this that say, ‘I’d love to do that, but I’m scared to death.’ You can’t be. I mean I was. I understand that. All you’ve gotta do is pick up the phone and call us. It’ll change your life,” he said.
If you’re not sure if you’re eligible or have any questions, call NWAEDD at (870) 741-5404.