Career Development / Changing Workforce

Arkansas scholarships target students bound for trades

By Brenda Bernet, for Arkansas Online

Mar 07, 2017

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Scholarships are opening up for graduating seniors in Arkansas who want to learn technical skills and enter the workforce after high school rather than pursue a bachelor's degree. 

The Springdale Schools Public Education Foundation in May will award three new workforce scholarships along with those given to college-bound students.

Wyatt Simco, 21, said when he was in his senior year at West Fork High School, he didn't agree with the pressure for all students to get a college degree. Simco was familiar with the trades because his dad works in the railroad industry, and his uncle was a crew chief for Ozarks Electric Cooperative. Simco knew about the pay and benefits for linemen, he said.

"I knew I didn't want to sit at a desk every day," Simco said.

Simco received a scholarship from Ozarks Electric that paid for him to spend one year in the High Voltage Lineman Technology program at Arkansas State University at Newport. Simco finished the program that combined in-class work with hands-on activities.

He's in his third year of an apprenticeship, will become a line technician in June and is on track to become a journeyman lineman for the company.

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