Robotics and computer science programs for three Arkansas school districts through the University of Arkansas at Fort Smith received nearly $2 million recently.

The award was the most received by any educational institution in the state from the Arkansas Department of Higher Education, according to a university news release. Employees from industry partners like Baldor Electric Co. and Hickory Springs Manufacturing, will serve as mentors to students participating in the coursework.

Both programs will allow students to earn a technical certificate and the option to move into an associate or bachelor’s degree program after earning the technical certificate credential.

UAFS received grants on July 13 of $987,000 and $940,000 for two workforce development grants from the ADHE to implement the educational programs for the two “high-demand” career fields.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson issued a statement Friday saying the UAFS grants are “in line with his priorities that will allow students even greater opportunities to learn valuable skills in the fields of robotics and computer science.”

“I am pleased the University of Arkansas at Fort Smith has been awarded $2 million in workforce development grants from the Arkansas Department of Higher Education,” the governor said in an email. “I am proud that our state continues to gain momentum in computer science education and high-tech job growth. I look forward to watching UAFS help create the next generation of tech-professionals in Arkansas.”

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