Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson came to Paris Monday for the grand opening to the Tyson Foods-Logan County Career Center and called the facility a model for the state.
Hutchinson was the featured speaker at the event, which drew a crowd around 150 to 200 people, including officials from Paris, Logan County, the state and several businesses and Arkansas Tech University and its Ozark campus, which is providing teachers and offering students the chance to earn college credit and job-specific training.
The building, which opened in December, cost about $1.3 million. The Tyson Foundation provided a $266,600 grant to assist in the construction of the new educational facility. The building will serve as an Arkansas Tech Career Center satellite location in Paris. The state of the art facility will allow Arkansas Tech-Ozark Campus to provide courses in automation technology, allied health and adult education in the Paris community. A $644,034 regional workforce grant from the Arkansas Department of Higher Education allowed ATU-Ozark to purchase equipment needed for each program.
Hutchinson highlighted the public-private partnership which got the facility opened, and said “all those partnerships exist right here. All those criteria are met right here. For those reasons and for those partnerships, this place is a model for Arkansas.”
He also said the facility will be a big benefit for Paris and north Logan County.
“When you display the workforce training opportunity that’s available here, businesses will come and existing businesses will grow,” Hutchinson said.
Hutchinson also provided the photo opportunity of the event. As he began his remarks, Hutchinson asked that students enrolled at the facility come forward. They did and stood in front of the podium three lines deep.
“This is what this is about,” Hutchinson said. “It’s about these students.”
After the one-hour ceremony ended, Hutchinson toured the facility meeting, conversing with students and teachers.
Other speakers at the event included Wayne Fawcett, Superintendent, Paris School District; Dr. Lee Lane, Paris Economic Development; Alderman Tonya Baumgartner, Executive Director, Paris Chamber of Commerce; Mike Rogers, Tyson Foods, Inc.; Dr. Robin E. Bowen, President, Arkansas Tech University; State Rep. Jon Eubanks (R-Paris); and Bruce Sikes; Chancellor of the Arkansas Tech University’s Ozark Campus.
The center, located on the Paris High School campus, serves high school students from Scranton, Magazine and Paris. There are approximately 58 students enrolled.