New Bicycle Tech Program Coming to NWACC
In the past couple of years, Northwest Arkansas has become a biking mecca drawing visitors to our area from across the country and around the world. Specifically, mountain biking has taken off creating a buzz about our region on a national level. With over 300 miles of mountain biking trails, Northwest Arkansas is looking to expand their services and professions in the biking industry.
About the Program
With the biking scene growing, the need for more resources surrounding the activity is increasing. The Bicycle Industry Employers Association, also known as BIEA, launched just one year ago in Washington with a mission “to connect the needs of bicycle industry employers with regionally-accredited colleges to develop smart, cost-effective programs for both schools and students.” BIEA and the Northwest Arkansas Community College announced a partnership to offer a bicycle technician program scheduled to begin Fall 2021. This program will be the second of its kind in the nation with the first located at the Minneapolis Technical & Community College.
The Walton Family Charitable Support Foundation granted the college with a grant that will provide salaries for three new positions associated with the program: a program director, project coordinator, and an outreach coordinator. A portion of the grant will also go towards renovations of the building where the program will be held. In addition to the teaching positions this program will bring, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that there will be more than 1,000 bicycle repair jobs coming to Arkansas over the next decade.
The Bicycle Technician program will be a one-year curriculum that is awarded with a technical certificate that qualifies graduates to be hired as a technician. According to NWACC’s website, after completing the year long program students will earn an accredited certification in bicycle assembly and repair and “gain skills in bicycle mechanics, wheel repair and assembly, braking, bearing and suspension systems, service department operations, electric bikes and more.”