Removing Barriers On The Path To Education: Arkansas Career Pathways Initiative

Once upon a time, for some of the population, the dream of going to college or getting a certification to begin a new career was just that: a dream. That is unless one had the financial resources available, someone to watch the kiddos during class, and a ready-made office with a computer plus other materials needed. Now though, the reality is this is an attainable goal for anyone. All those resources, in addition to tuition and much more, are available through various programs at University of Arkansas at Hope-Texarkana (UAHT). One such program is the Arkansas Career Pathways Initiative.

The Career Pathways Initiative (CPI) is for any Arkansas resident who is the parent of a child under 21 AND either meets the income guidelines OR is the recipient of programs like TEA, SNAP, or ARKids. One can be a single parent or married; there is no specification of marital status. This program isn’t just for traditional degrees either; any certification offered at UAHT falls under the CPI umbrella. CPI assists with tuition, child care, books, tools, Chromebooks, gas expenses, nursing kits/pins, uniforms, and anything else needed to complete a class or program. A fully-equipped computer lab with printers and copiers is on site, as well. CPI also makes available those intangible, yet just as necessary, services like Counseling and Student Support. This program is brimming with opportunity for parents who want to go to school, even if they have been before.

Sonya Thomas has been with CPI since it began at UAHT 14 years ago: seven years as a counselor and the last seven as Director. She shared with SWARK.Today why Career Pathways is an essential program for the community. “It removes barriers,” said Thomas. “We have many students who want to come to school but they can’t because of financial issues, child care, or other hurdles. We at Career Pathways, as well as the other offices on campus, want to do anything possible to help people get in school, earn a degree or certification, and become employed.” Sonya and the rest of the CPI staff also work closely with the Division of Workforce Services, who provides their funding, the Department of Human Services, and many other organizations to assist as many citizens as possible.

Now the opportunity awaits for anyone who wants to make a change. Have you always dreamed of being a nurse, but don’t have child care? CPI can help with that. Are you a dad who’s thought about getting certified in a technical field but you aren’t sure you can afford tuition? Call CPI. The Arkansas Career Pathways Initiative is ready to assist any parent of a child under 21 and who meets the income guidelines. The path to education and changing one’s life is no longer just a dream. Programs like CPI are there to make it a reality.

To apply, get more info, or contact a staff member go to the CPI website.

Stay tuned to SWARK.Today for other programs offered at UAHT. Fall registration is going on now and ends August 23.

CPI Staff (left to right) Counselor Linda Waller, Director Sonya Thomas, Counselor Karen O’Dell
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