mjordan2@sdale.orgMore than 50 Springdale Public Schools students from Archer Learning Center, Don Tyson School of Innovation and Har-Ber and Springdale high schools participated in the second annual Career and Technical Education Signing Day May 2 in the Springdale High School gymnasium.

“It is a big deal,” said Dr. Jared Cleveland, Springdale Public Schools superintendent. “This is a community education effort.”

The school district is working to make sure all students have accelerated pathways toward careers following graduation, he said, which may include enrolling in a college or a trade school, joining the military or entering into the skilled workforce.

“Our goal is to create pipelines for this community and for our students to have options,” said Rodney Ellis, Springdale Schools Workforce Training director.

Signing students have gained skills in areas that include advanced manufacturing, business, construction, education, electrical maintenance, operating heavy equipment, medical careers, plumbing, utility operations and welding.

mjordan2@sdale.orgParticipating students committed to apprenticeships and employment positions, such as plumbing and electrical apprenticeships, patient care technicians, instructional assistants, certified nursing assistants, surveyors and water treatment technicians with multiple Northwest Arkansas employers at the event.

“It represents a lot of time, effort and instruction by teachers,” Ellis said, adding the work of district teachers and area business partners speaks to the community’s investment in the school district.

Kent Rogers, Marrs Electric Arkansas Division vice president and general manager, signed nine Springdale students on as apprentice electricians at the event.

“You guys are leading the way in promoting careers,” Rogers said. “Springdale School District does a really good job of getting these guys ready for going into the skilled workforce.”

He said Springdale Schools empowers students with, not only job skills, but the soft skills necessary to obtain professional positions, such as resume writing, interviewing skills and what questions to ask prior to employment.

“When I interview Springdale kids, it’s like talking to an adult,” Rogers said.

Marrs Electric also hired seven Springdale students at the 2023 CTE Signing Day, six of whom are still with the company, he said.

“It’s probably the best retention rate we’ve had,” Rogers said.

mjordan2@sdale.orgSpringdale Public Schools had 10 students commit to work with the district following graduation in positions that include instructional assistant, bus maintenance and diesel technician, website intern and Marshallese student mentor.

Emily Ashby, a Springdale High School senior, said she committed to work as an instructional assistant at Springdale’s Monitor Elementary School.

“I want to be a kindergarten teacher,” Ashby said, adding she plans to attend the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville to major in psychology and minor in social work.

Ellis said working in a position such as an instructional assistant while attending college can help people discover if a career pathway is a good fit for them.

“I think that it gives you a good perspective of what you’re looking for in the future,” Ashby said.

Mellissa Fink, Springdale Public Schools associate superintendent, said hiring the graduating students in positions such as instructional assistants is also a good opportunity to invest in the district’s future educational workforce.

“This is a great opportunity to grow our own teachers in the district,” she said.