Center for Economic Development and Community Engagement

Economic Development

Henderson State University’s Center for Economic Development and Community Engagement provides training opportunities for business, industries, and individuals in Clark County and the surrounding area. These programs improve the quality of life for area citizens and assure a well-trained workforce for further regional economic growth. This mission is accomplished through collaboration with area universities, two-year colleges, specialized training providers and economic development organizations. 

The center hosts a wide range of training opportunities from computer skills to welding and programmable logic controller classes. In addition to courses offered, customized training classes can be created to fit any new or existing industry need. The training facility, located in downtown Arkadelphia, includes a 24-station computer lab, two classrooms, two additional meeting and conference rooms, and a hands-on industrial maintenance shop. 

Computer Skills Training

Computer skills training programs are available upon request. Some of the most frequently requested training includes Microsoft Word and Excel. Dates and times for classes will be announced. Class size is limited.

  • Intro to Excel (Level I)
  • Intermediate Excel (Level II)
  • Advanced Excel (Level III)
  • Intro to Word (Level 1)
  • Intermediate Word (Level II)

Interested in Computer Skills Training?

Adult Welding Classes

Classic Arc Welding for the beginner (Class sizes are limited, and a minimum number of participants must be reached to form a class). The class includes:

  • Classroom learning of equipment, including eye, torch and general welding safety, plus basic identification of welding electrodes
  • Hands-on welding sessions in the shop
  • Proper set up of fuel cutting torch will also be taught if desired by students
  • Welding equipment provided (welding hood, gloves, chipping hammer, hand wire brush, safety glasses, welding jacket). 

Class is taught by an American Welding Society certified welding inspector (CWI) or Certified Welding Educator (CWE). A follow-up six-week MIG Welding class may be offered if there is adequate student interest.

Interested in Welding Classes?

High School Industrial Technologies (IT) Program

This program is a collaboration between local high schools, Henderson State University Center for Economic Development, and College of the Ouachitas. Students attend class at the Center for Economic Development and are taught by a COTO instructor. This two-year program is for participating high schools’ 10th through 12th grade students and includes four semesters of instruction with each course offered every other year. Classes include:

  • Motors and Motor Controls
  • Fluid Power (Hydraulics and Pneumatics)
  • Blueprint Reading/Introduction to CAD
  • Shielded Metal Arc Welding

Courses are independent and do not require a prerequisite for enrollment.

  • All courses provide concurrent high school credit and 3-6 hours of college credit from COTO at no cost
  • Once 12 hours of college credit has been completed, students earn a Certificate of Proficiency from COTO in Industrial Equipment Maintenance
  • Student can become a “completer” at their high school for this program of study
  • Completers are eligible for a 50% tuition discount at COTO following high school graduation
  • All courses apply toward an Industrial Equipment Maintenance or Mechatronics Associate of Applied Sciences (AAS) degree
  • Students have the opportunity to connect directly with industry leaders in pursuit of employment opportunities following completion of their training
  • All students become a member of the nationally-recognized SkillsUSA student organization. Students may earn the opportunity to compete at the local, state, national, and international levels, making them eligible for scholarships and prizes, as well as become selected for employment with various local industries.

ACT Work Ready Community

The ACT Work Ready Communities (ACT WRC) initiative powered by the ACT work readiness system, helps counties, state, and regions build a more productive workforce and encourage economic growth. Visit Work Ready Communities.

ACT WorkKeys Career Readiness Certification

National Career Readiness Certificate is an assessment-based credential issued at four levels: Platinum, Gold, Silver, and Bronze. The NCRC measures and certifies the essential work skills needed for success in jobs across industries and occupations. A referral from Workforce Development is needed to schedule the assessments. A level score of 3 or better is needed in all three WorkKeys assessments: Applied Math, Workplace Documents, and Graphic Literacy. Visit ACT WorkKeys.

Competitive Communities

The Arkadelphia Regional Economic Development Alliance (The "Alliance") is an umbrella organization that oversees the chambers of commerce for Amity, Arkadelphia and Gurdon, the Economic Development Corporation of Clark County (The "EDCCC") and the Clark County Industrial Council (The “CCIC”). The purpose of the Alliance is to bring about economic growth in Clark County. Visit the Arkadelphia Alliance.

Leadership Clark County was designed with the belief that future leadership is critical to furthering the economic growth of our community. The class is comprised of emerging leaders who are committed to shaping the future of our county. Participants engage in a nine-month course covering topics such as Clark County history, education, agriculture, wood products, tourism and state government. Visit Leadership Clark County.

The mission of the Arkansas Economic Development Commission is to create economic opportunity by attracting higher paying jobs, expanding and diversifying our state and local economies, increasing incomes and investment, and generating positive growth throughout Arkansas. Visit the AEDC.