Simmons partners with Career Academy of Siloam Springs, Ark.

Simmons Foods is proud to partner with the Siloam Springs High School Career Academy of Siloam Springs (CASS) in Arkansas to provide work-ready students the opportunity to apply the technical skills they’ve learned in the program at local manufacturing companies like Simmons. The CASS Program teaches students in the classroom skills like welding and electrical work they can use to get jobs once they graduate.

Russell Tooley, Chief Administrative Officer at Simmons Foods, was interviewed by 5NEWS about the CASS Program and why the partnership is worthwhile for the students and for Simmons. The interview aired on 5NEWS on 9/20/18 at 5 PM.

“There is a big need for technical skills, not only in Arkansas but in the nation and this definitely provides a big opportunity for those kids to learn those skills, take them on and further their career at places like Simmons and other companies,” said Russell Tooley, Chief Administrative Officer, Simmons Foods.

Tooley also said the students graduating from CASS will help fill a need for Simmons as the new Benton County facility opening in 2019 will add more than 1,000 new jobs to the region.

The CASS Program is free to students because it is a part of the Siloam Springs School District. Principal Anne Martfeld said they listened to their community partners’ needs and found out they were in need of people who can work in industrial maintenance technology.

“That should drive a school, a school district to ensure that the students that we are putting out there so to speak are not just college ready but career and industry ready and that they’ll stay in Siloam Springs and become quality contributors to our local community,” said Principal Anne Martfeld, Siloam Springs School District.

Senior Sidney Perkins decided to join the program after taking an agriculture metals class sophomore year.

“I thought it would be a good opportunity for me to get ahead of the game so that when I’m out of high school I can go to welding school and I can also possibly in here getting my welding certification if I get enough practice,” said senior CASS Program student Sidney Perkins.

The original story aired on 5NEWS Online.