|Title||Arkansas Career Training Institute Awarded $10,000 Grant for "Greenhouse Effect"|
|Division||Arkansas Rehabilitation Services|
|Description||Lowe’s Foundation Supports Career Skills Development
HOT SPRINGS – The Arkansas Training Institute (ACTI), a division of Arkansas Rehabilitation Services, has been awarded a $10,000 SkillsUSA Lowe’s Charitable and Educational Foundation grant to fund a campus improvement project. ACTI is the only school in Arkansas to receive a Lowe’s grant in 2011.
“The grant will fund the construction of a free-standing,16-by-20-foot greenhouse on campus. We’ve named the project the ‘Greenhouse Effect’,” says Dr. Dawn Tirado Simpson, Director of Vocational Training at ACTI.
“We believe the effect of having a greenhouse on campus will be, first, to provide horticultural exposure and skills training for our students. This is a program we do not currently offer,” Simpson continued. “But beyond that, we will use the plants the students grow to beautify our campus and hopefully extend that into community service projects. Furthermore, recent research has documented the healing, social, and therapeutic effects of horticulture programs on special needs populations. Our students are here because they have special needs and face significant challenges. We hope that the greenhouse and related coursework will provide ACTI with one more way it can help our students succeed.”
Providing training in horticultural skills fits well into the aims of ACTI’s recently formed SkillsUSA chapter. SkillsUSA is a national nonprofit organization of students, teachers and industry, working together to ensure America has a skilled workforce. SkillsUSA helps high school and college students enrolled in career and technical education programs excel by teaching employability skills such as communication, problem solving, and leadership in conjunction with their trade, technical, and service occupations skills.
“The greenhouse project is a perfect fit with our already-existing relationship with the Hot Springs Lowe’s store and staff,” Simpson said. “They’re always willing to help us with projects, and they’re very excited about being a part of this one. Being awarded the grant from the Lowe’s Corporation is such an honor.”
“The Hot Springs grant represents Lowe’s commitment to both education and community improvement,” said Larry D. Stone, chairman of Lowe’s Charitable and Educational Foundation. “By supporting local schools such as the Arkansas Career Training Institute, we believe we are not only investing in community projects that are important to our customers and employees, but we’re also helping schools build a stronger foundation for the students who will be tomorrow’s employees, homeowners, and community leaders.”
On April 19, Jean Palmer, commercial sales representative, and Erik Reynolds, assistant store manager from the Hot Springs Lowe’s store, presented the $10,000 award to ARS Commissioner Robert P. Treviño. The presentation was in conjunction with the SkillsUSA state conference held April 18-20 at the Hot Springs Convention Center.
“Arkansas Rehabilitation Services is deeply appreciative of the investment Lowe’s Foundation has made in the education and future of our students at ACTI. Their generosity illustrates how Lowe’s is planting the seed of community development both for our students and for the greater Hot Springs area. Vocational Rehabilitation programs throughout the country are benefiting from Lowe’s participation in the Council of State Administrators of Vocational Rehabilitation’s (CSAVR) National Employment Team and ARS is the latest example of our partnership,” commented Commissioner Treviño.
“We really enjoy working with the ACTI students and staff,” Reynolds said. “We’ve helped them with several projects already, and we are very excited about breaking ground on the greenhouse. We’re going to be able to build an even bigger greenhouse than originally expected. It’s going to be great.”
“This grant shows what great partners SkillsUSA and Lowe’s are to ACTI. The funding along with the commitment of ACTI staff and students combined with the local Lowe’s store managers and employees will provide a great addition to our campus,” Bibb said. “Lowe’s is making tremendous impact in the country, not only in rehabilitation education, but in education as a whole.”
Construction on the greenhouse will begin soon. Simpson is clearly excited about the Greenhouse Effect project and its potential, saying that from the ground up it will be used in a “team teaching approach” by the faculty, giving students in ACTI’s construction management, grounds keeping and marketing departments a unique learning experience as the project progresses.
In 2010 the Lowe’s Corporation funded $323,000 in educational grants through the SkillsUSA program.
The Arkansas Career Training Institute is a vocational rehabilitation instructional program of Arkansas Rehabilitation Services, a division of the Arkansas Department of Career Education (ACE). ACE has the mission of providing leadership and contributing resources to serve the diverse and changing career educational needs of Arkansas’s youth, adults, and persons living with disabilities.
SkillsUSA is a national nonprofit organization of students, teachers and industry, working together to ensure America has a skilled workforce. SkillsUSA helps high school and college students enrolled in career and technical education programs to excel by teaching employability skills such as communication, problem solving and leadership in conjunction with their trade, technical and service occupations skills. The association’s annual membership exceeds 305,000 students and instructors in more than 3,700 schools and colleges in every state, three territories and the District of Columbia. For more information, visit www.skillsusa.org.
Lowe’s is a proud supporter of SkillsUSA and SkillsCanada, Habitat for Humanity International, American Red Cross, and The Nature Conservancy, in addition to numerous non-profit organizations and programs that help communities in North America. In 2009, Lowe’s and the Lowe’s Charitable and Educational Foundation together contributed more than $30 million to support community and education projects in the United States, Canada and Mexico. Lowe’s also encourages volunteerism through the Lowe’s Heroes program, a company-wide employee volunteer initiative. Lowe’s is a FORTUNE® 50 company with fiscal year 2009 sales of $47.2 billion and has more than 1,720 stores in the United States, Canada and Mexico. For more information, visit Lowes.com/social responsibility.|