The University of Arkansas at Little Rock has partnered with the Vilonia Pathways Academy Conversion Charter to create a concurrent program in which students can gain an associate degree in construction science while in high school. Vilonia Pathways is the first-of-its-kind charter school in Arkansas.
UA Little Rock has established a memorandum of understanding with Vilonia Pathways Academy, which offers high-quality learning through differentiated pathways that promote academic success, and has been integral to the creation of this innovative approach by working alongside the academy’s administrators to create a concurrent program.
“UA Little Rock Construction Management is pleased to support the Vilonia Charter’s unique program,” said Dr. Hollis “Hank” Bray, chair of the Department of Construction Management and Civil and Construction Management at UA Little Rock. “Pending approvals by the Arkansas Higher Education Coordinating Board and the Higher Learning Commission, students will be able to complete an associate degree in construction science and two certificate programs before graduation from high school.”
The Vilonia Pathways Academy provides opportunities of educational excellence to students who desire a nontraditional learning environment. This perspective is a clear fit with UA Little Rock’s own mission to provide an accessible, quality education through flexible, supported learning. This partnership is a model of public high school and higher education collaborating to ensure students are prepared to meet the needs of today’s workforce.
“What we are celebrating today is the result of true collaboration among industry, school district, and higher education,” said Dr. Cathy Riggins, assistant superintendent of Vilonia Public Schools. “It is imperative that education provides the skills needed in today’s workforce. This initiative allows innovative opportunities to provide various pathways of study for students to successfully enter into the commercial construction industry.”
Riggins is also the lead architect and project manager of the charter school. Students will undergo concurrent coursework while attending the charter school in order to achieve an associate degree of construction science from UA Little Rock.
The University of Arkansas at Little Rock–Vilonia High School Associate of Construction Science Partnership will begin in the fall semester of 2021. This degree, along with experience, is a pathway to entry-level construction management jobs with general contractors and subcontractors in building construction and heavy highway construction.