Tech offers community and professional development courses

Arkansas Tech University has a Department of Community Education and Professional Development (CEPD), which allows Tech students as well as the surrounding communities the opportunity to take classes traditionally not offered through a university setting.

The program offers a variety of classes in leisure learning, which are fun or hobby based classes. Classes are offered in physical activities, such as Yoga, Zumba and Hooping; photography, from beginner to starting a photography business; culinary arts, including cake design, Italian, Tex-Mex, German and Asian cuisine; and language classes for Spanish and sign language.

The professional development side of the program offers computer and specialized training classes for business and industry employees based on the needs of the company or business. Classes offered this fall include: Employee Leave Issues, Windows 8 Basics, PowerPoint 2010, iPad Essentials and Excel 2010.

Director of CEPD Lisa Clark said the university offers training for area businesses and industries.

“We do a lot of computer and custom training for business and industry if they have a training need or a gap,” Clark said. “Superior Graphite is just one example of someone we’ve worked with to train different employees through the years.”

The CEPD also works with the Existing Workforce Training Program (EWTP), which is a state program that offers companies and business owners reimbursements for employee training. The EWTP helps to deliver customized, industry-specific training to the employees of Arkansas and works with educational institutions, like Tech, to provide those training needs for the area.

“Manufacturers are a main user of these reimbursement programs,” Clark said. “It’s a win-win situation. The employer gets help covering the cost of training, and their employees get good quality training at the same time.”

As far as advertising goes, the CEPD prints its own information and course pamphlets, which are distributed to Tech for placement around campus and to the Russellville Chamber of Commerce and local business community. Course descriptions, dates and times of classes, and costs can be found online at