Local Learning: Northark offers local programs in information technology
By Kelby Newcomb
The North Arkansas College Carroll County Center offers networking classes for local students interested in information technology (IT).
Linda Tamayo, operations coordinator for the Northark Carroll County Center, said students can take the classes to receive technical certificates or an associate’s degree. She said they can finish the program with a Computer Support Technician Certificate, an IT Computer Support Certificate of Proficiency or an IT Network/Systems Associate of Applied Science.
Instructor Aaron Bueg said he is currently teaching Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA) II: Routing and Switching Essentials.
“This is the second part in a four-part series of the CCNA training program,” he said.
After completing the courses, Bueg said the students will take exams to receive their official CCNA certifications.
Tamayo said the course is taught in Carroll County as a satellite classroom. Bueg simultaneously teaches a course at the main campus in Harrison, she said, and Carroll County students follow along with cameras.
“They still get to work on the hands-on aspects of the class as well,” Tamayo said, “because they have the equipment here. They’re able to do that all here.”
Greg Strodtman, a student in the program, said the local students have exactly the same equipment as the Harrison classroom.
“If there are problems, we can take these cameras and zoom in for [Bueg],” Strodtman said, “and he can see what we’ve done. It’s really cool.”
He said the students watch what Bueg does on the monitor and use their laptops and equipment to do the same actions themselves.
Strodtman said he took the CCNA courses because they were offered at the Carroll County Center.
“I’m going to retire from the post office in April,” he said. “They offered these IT courses, and I thought ‘IT is something that’s always going to be around, and it’s going to be a stable occupation.’ I figured since they offered the courses in Berryville I would take it. If they were only in Harrison, I probably wouldn’t have taken them.”
He said he is on track to complete the one-year certificate program.
“I thought that worked perfectly for me,” Strodtman said. “In one year, I can retire from the post office, have my certificate and go do this or something like this. The whole point was to have something to do after I retired.”
Students Conner Glassell and Marco Garcia said having the courses offered at the Carroll County Center made a huge difference for them as well.
“I love technology, and I want to go into the IT field,” Glassell said. “I want a degree so I can get a job. Once I found out I could take classes in Berryville, it was a no-brainer. I could stay at home and eat Mom’s food.”
He continued, “I live in Green Forest, so it’s a difference of about 25 to 30 minutes to Harrison and 15 minutes to Berryville.”
Garcia said he also likes technology and working on computers.
“The fact that it’s offered here was big,” he said. “I was going to Harrison before. It was really hard on me because I work, so this made it much easier.”
Tamayo said Northark plans to expand the IT programs at the Carroll County Center in the future.
“We’re looking into adding more technology classes and possibly instructors who will be housed here in the Carroll County Center,” she said. “We also want to add more types of classes.”