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Northwest Arkansas’ Business & Industry Training (BIT) has been offering short-term, hands-on industrial maintenance training for nearly 30 years. Its courses in electrical, automation, mechanical, fluid power and other trades are perfect for anyone looking to balance a full-time job while completing the training.

The reason why BIT is beneficial to those training for a variety of trades is that it was created by a group of human resources managers that represented the various industries.

Darrell Fleener of Rockline Industries, a supplier of private label consumer products that has a location in Springdale, is a BIT board member regularly sends his employees to acquire new skills and take refresher courses.

Due to the flexibility offered at BIT, the training courses are well suited for those who need to balance part-time or full-time work. Students are encouraged to fit  training into their work schedule, which can mean in the evening or even squeezing in a short session during their lunch break.

Local employers trust BIT to enhance their employees’ skills, and the hope is that employees continue to use it as an essential professional development resource once they have taken their first course.

Another goal of BIT is to reach young professionals who aren’t familiar with the career possibilities available to them once they gain industrial maintenance knowledge. The role of institutions like BIT is incredibly important in the ongoing national skilled trade labor shortage. There are many facts about skilled trade careers that can benefit young people getting ready to graduate high school, yet they often do not have this information. The income potential for these positions if often underestimated, and students are also unaware of the advanced technology that is included in the work. With the current average age of a skilled trade worker being 46, there is projected to be a severe shortage of qualified people to replace those that are soon to retire.

The reality of a job in a trade industry is that workers are usually in a more stable financial situation in a shorter amount of time when compared to traditional degree-seeking counterparts. Given the labor shortage issue, they also experience the security of jobs that are consistently in high demand.

Along with the income and job security benefits of industrial maintenance careers, the work itself can be very rewarding. At Rockline Industries, the projects that employees tackle vary on a daily basis which is perfect for those personalities who thrive with new challenges. This field also comes with many opportunities for immediate job satisfaction – specialists have the skills to take a broken machine and make it functional again.

Both of BIT’s Springdale and Gentry locations offer all of their different industrial maintenance training programs. These include courses for electrical systems, motor controls, programmable logic controllers (PLC), CNC machine tooling and more, and the certification typically only requires 24 hours of logged hands-on training.

A recent partnership between BIT and NorthWest Arkansas Community College (NWACC) allows BIT students to transfer training hours to NWACC with the those hours going toward an associate degree.

The possibilities at BIT are extensive, and accessible to all. The first step to a new career can be as easy as making a phone call.

Learn more at Business & Industry Training.