ANC leads state in grad wages

Saturday, October 21, 2017

The Arkansas Northeastern College (ANC) Board of Trustees were told Wednesday in their regular bi-monthly meeting that met Wednesday that ANC once again leads the state with the highest average starting pay earned by its graduates compared with all other two-year colleges.

According to the state’s Economic Security Report for 2017, ANC leads the state in average full-time wages for associate degree graduates, with an average full-time wage of $44,564 during the students’ first year of employment. Furthermore, the only bachelor degree program in the state with a higher average full-time starting wage than ANC, was at the UAMS medical school.

The board also received a construction report from the director of physical plant, Scott Creecy. Creecy said that construction is going really well and that the entire concrete slab for the aviation facility has been poured. The main steel structure for the aviation building has also been completed. Creecy stated that some steel walls should be erected in a few days and that the rough end plumbing is also complete.

ANC President Dr. James Shemwell explained to the board that the college was at the end of the Blytheville Waterworks water line. Therefore the city is currently unable to provide the necessary requirements for fire suppression to the new facility.

ANC and the city of Blytheville have been working together to determine the best solution to meet the specifications for fire suppression.

The proposed plan is for ANC to build a 100-foot well system with a 50-foot pump that will cost $177,000 with a $40,000 contingency in case a 100-foot pump is also needed.

“What we have proposed to the city of Blytheville is that ANC will cover the construction of the well system as a change order. Meaning that we will do it as a part of our existing contract and we will pay the cost of this up front in exchange for an agreement from the city that the college will receive credit on our water bill until ANC has recovered the cost of the investment,” Shemwell said.

The college will also build a well house for the well pump and related instrumentation at the cost of $68,000 bringing the total cost to $245,000. However ANC will not seek reimbursement for the cost of the well house from the city.

ANC’s annual average water bill over the last three years has been $18,000, so if the less expensive pump system is adequate, it would take ten years for ANC to fully recover their expense. If the 100-foot pump is determined to also be needed, it would take 12 years.

“The city council has not made a decision on that yet. I believe it has to go through the city’s utilities committee first. I do want to say publically that Mayor Sanders and many of the employees of the city have been excellent to work with. While you certainly don’t want to assume anything we do anticipate approval. We’ve had very positive conversations with some of the council members,” Shemwell said.

During the enrollment report it was mentioned that ANC saw a one percent growth in African American students, which brings the total percentage to 28. Shemwell clarified that the percentage increase actually represents around an 8 percent growth in the population of African American students.

ANC Vice-President for Workforce Development Gene Bennett reminded the board of Act 1131 of 2015, which provides for Regional Workforce Implementation Grants to increase overall higher education attainment in the region and to establish a clear link between postsecondary credentials and the needs of employers.

The board also approved an extension of the Career Coach Grant award from the Arkansas Department of Career Education in the amount of $5,000 for the period of September 1, 2017 through June 30, 2018. This purpose of this grant is to ensure Arkansas Citizens have the opportunity and support needed to increase their knowledge and skills by providing college and career guidance for students.

The additional funds will support college recruitment and career exploration activities. $2,000 of these funds will be dedicated to college recruitment during the Arkansas College Application Campaign to be held during the month of October.

The remaining $3,000 will be spent on ANC Career Exploration Camps that will increase students’ awareness and knowledge of career pathways.

gwilliams@blythevillecourier.com