Chase Shurtleff has been a UACCM student for two years. The kicker is, he hasn’t even graduated high school yet. Thanks to a partnership between Morrilton High School and the UACCM Career Center, Chase will complete a Certificate of Proficiency and Technical Certificate in Welding. He will be able to enter the workforce after graduation, debt-free and prepared for a career.
The UACCM Career Center provides numerous benefits to high school students in grades 10-12 at participating schools, including the opportunity to earn college credit, complete a college credential, gain soft skills, and prepare for the workforce. Students have the potential to earn a Certificate of Proficiency (8-15 credits) or up to a Technical Certificate (30 college credits) in eligible programs.
Students can currently enroll in one of the eight Career Center programs at no cost to the student, as tuition, fees, and supplies are funded through the Arkansas Office of Skills Development. In the fall, the Career Center will expand to include two more programs: Computer Aided Drafting & Design Technology and Computer Information Systems.
The UACCM Career Center launched in fall 2020, and Chase Shurtleff was one of the first students to enroll in the Center. Chase has been an exemplary welding student and has been chosen to compete at Skills USA this spring. “I chose welding because it's something different,” Chase said. “My whole life I was always told that in order to make it in life, you must get a 4 to 8-year degree. I want to prove to myself that you can become a tradesman and have a fulfilling job.”
Bobbi Yarbrough, Director of Advising and Concurrent Enrollment, has seen Chase develop as a student and observed his success as a Career Center student. “Chase’s success story is a great example of how high school students can benefit from enrolling in the UACCM Career Center,” Yarbrough said. “Not only will he graduate high school ready to enter the workforce, he has the option of finishing his Associate of Applied Science degree in a year.” After graduation, Chase plans to become a traveling pipe welder. His advice for other students is simple: “If everything you do is easy, you won’t learn anything from it.”
You can learn more about the UACCM Career Center at http://www.uaccm.edu/enroll/concurrent/index.html.