The Jefferson County STEM Workforce Initiative Pilot Grant, in collaboration with the Ivy Center for Education, Alliance of Jefferson County, and Mr. J.L. Santos, Director of Terminal Operations, facilitated a tour of the Union Pacific Railroad Pine Bluff work site recently. Students from First Ward Alternative School, White Hall High School, teachers, and parents learned more about the history of Union Pacific Railroad Systems and the major impact the Pine Bluff site has made in transporting goods and commodities across the United States. Brandon Morris, director of Public Affairs for Union Pacific (Arkansas, Oklahoma, and Tennessee) and a 2004 graduate of Pine Bluff High School, and Gideon Banks, manager of Terminal Operations gave students a safety briefing for working with and around trains and railroads, shared information on STEM skill sets and attitudes needed to get a job and develop a career at Union Pacific, and highlighted the company’s role in the area as a community partner.
The Jefferson County STEM Workforce Initiative Pilot Grant was funded by the Arkansas Department of Higher Education to support the integration of workforce development strategies to develop a skilled workforce of critical thinkers in Jefferson County. Dr. Jessie Walker, chair of Math and Computer Science at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff (UAPB) is the principal investigator of the pilot grant. Dr. Sederick C. Rice, assistant professor of biology at UAPB is the program manager of the pilot grant and is assisted by Dr. Michael Gunter who conducts outreach and coordinates access into Alliance industry partner facilities.
For more information about the grant, contact Dr. Walker at 870-575-7151or Dr. Rice at 870-575-8849.