In 2021, Northwest Arkansas Community College announced a new program for students aspiring to work in the biking industry- the Bicycle Assembly & Repair Technician Certificate program. Board members and partners saw a need for this program because of the growing bike scene in Northwest Arkansas. Because of the growth and interest, NWACC announced a new program coming in 2024- the Trails Trade School.
An $8 million grant has been given to Northwest Arkansas Community College by the Walton Family Charitable Support Foundation to start this trade school. The program will be geared toward the avenue in which cyclists are able to get to and from places- the trails. In our growing biking scene, the board members for NWACC saw a need for this program and what it could do for our community. Through this program, students will gain certification in trail building & maintenance which in turn, will provide a workforce of certified trail technicians as well as ensure accessibility & growth for our trail systems. If students wish to build upon the trail certification, they can enroll in the previously mentioned Bike Technician program and /or work towards an associate’s degree in construction or general technology.
A portion of the grant funds will go toward further renovating one of NWACC’s buildings into a trails laboratory. The college plans to remodel the former physical plant building to be able to accommodate the bike technician & trails programs as well as provide hygiene/changing stations and bike repair stations.
Our area continues to see growth and innovation when it comes to biking. Companies, events, celebrities, and visitors bring their business here because of the state-of-the-art facilities and culture we have built. Another huge announcement for Northwest Arkansas is that the U.S. National Mountain Bike Team will be utilizing our trail systems in order to prepare for the World Cup racing season. We are excited for what these programs can do for students and cyclists in our community.