College of the Ouachitas receives $25,000 gift

Staff Writer

MALVERN — College of the Ouachitas (COTO) has received an unrestricted gift of $25,000 from West Fraser. As acknowledgment of the gift, the College Board of Trustees approved a naming recognition, establishing the West Fraser Training Room in the CAST Building.
The partnership between West Fraser and College of the Ouachitas began in 2016, and that relationship has continued to grow.  The College provides technical and professional development and workforce computer training for West Fraser’s employees throughout the southern United States in an ongoing program of employee professional development.  Mason Robinson, COTO’s Director of Workforce Development has conducted training for West Fraser employees in the PLC Academy and Professional Development Academy, held at the College’s Center for Applied Science Technology (CAST) and onsite at West Fraser’s Huttig lumber mill.
Chester Fort, Regional Manager for West Fraser, spoke on careers in manufacturing to the students from the COTO CAMP (Camp for Advanced Manufacturing & Production) who toured the West Fraser facilities.  Fort works closely with COTO to deliver on West Fraser’s employee development and training programs.
“We are pleased to have such a good working relationship with a quality educational institution like COTO that helps us to deliver quality programs and improve our employees’ skills,” said Fort. “In the West Fraser Training Room at the COTO campus, our people are receiving excellent instruction and they are building their technical and professional skills to step up our mill’s performance to the next level.”
“Since our first meeting with West Fraser I have been thoroughly impressed with their commitment to employee development,” said Robinson.  “It has been an honor for me and COTO to play a role in that development through our Professional Development Academy, PLC Academy, computer training, welding training, and now extending into trades qualified training for employees.”
Robinson added, “Chester Fort and his team of General Managers in Arkansas have been true professionals and a joy to serve.  If I were looking for a job, I would be looking at West Fraser.”
West Fraser is a diversified wood products company producing lumber, LVL, MDF, plywood, pulp, newsprint, wood chips and energy with facilities in western Canada and the southern United States. The company operates over 21 manufacturing facilities in the United States, and is the largest lumber producer in North America. 
COTO is a comprehensive, public, two-year institution of higher education that provides accessible, high-value associate degrees and certificates in a quality academic environment that is focused on both student success and the economic development needs of the communities it serves. The college offers more than 60 programs of study in academic, career and technical disciplines to approximately 3,500 credit, non-credit, adult education (three sites—Hot Spring, Clark and Grant Counties) and workforce students, while serving the culturally and economically diverse populations in the five-county service area of Hot Spring, Saline, Clark, Grant and Dallas Counties. COTO also partners with high schools at Arkansas Christian Academy, Avilla Christian Academy, Benton, Bismarck, Glen Rose, Magnet Cove, Malvern, Poyen, Ouachita and Sheridan to offer concurrent core courses.