Caucasian woman and african american man at signing ceremony

Southern Arkansas University Tech & Reach University Partner to Achieve Greater Local Degree Attainment & Career Opportunity

Southern Arkansas University Tech & Reach University Partner to Achieve Greater Local Degree Attainment & Career Opportunity

Caucasian woman and african american man at signing ceremony

Partnership will transfer 100 percent of associate credits into Reach’s job-embedded, paid
bachelor’s degree program, providing a new K-12 talent pipeline to address educator shortages.

(CAMDEN, Arkansas) – May 15, 2024 – Southern Arkansas University Tech (SAU Tech) and
Reach University today announced a partnership to offer nearly every SAU Tech graduate a
transparent, job-embedded, and paid pathway to a bachelor’s degree and professional career in
their local community.

In the partnership’s “Associate to Bachelor’s Degree Transfer Pathway,” SAU Tech graduates
from approximately 20 majors are eligible to transfer 100% of associate credits into Reach
University’s liberal studies degree program. Rather than a traditional college campus, Reach
utilizes local schools as the university learning place through its accredited on-the-job degree
program. All degree seekers will work as an employee for a regional education provider while
completing their B.A., and have the option to pursue a teaching credential at the end of their
degree experience.

“SAU Tech places a tremendous priority on meeting and exceeding the educational, training,
and cultural needs of the greater Camden community,” said Dr. Jerry W. Thomas, Chancellor of
Southern Arkansas University Tech. “In partnership with Reach University, we’re building a clear,
debt-free, and community-serving pathway to an undergraduate degree that can be used in the
field of education or any career of choice. We couldn’t be more proud to expand the
postsecondary and career options for SAU Tech grads here in our home community.”

As part of the Southern Arkansas University System, SAU Tech is a leading technical institute
offering learners degree options spanning from aviation to healthcare, education, technology
and more. SAU Tech works closely with regional employers to align its curriculum to local
industry needs, and equips graduates with the opportunity to transfer into a four-year degree
granting institution. SAU Tech’s partnership with Reach provides a new means of supporting
working adults in achieving their postsecondary goals, while building a pipeline of short- and
long-term educators for local schools.

“When our community has the opportunity to remove the longstanding barriers to recruiting
passionate, committed, and qualified educators, we all win,” Karen McMahen, Director of the
South Central Service Cooperative. “From affordability to providing on-the-job career exposure,
this transfer program clears the way for aspiring teachers and aspiring degree holders from any
major to achieve their college-to-career goals within their home community. We are thrilled to
build yet another outside-the-box talent pathway into our local schools.”

In this job-embedded transfer pathway, an associate degree holder will typically fill a critical job
(e.g., as a classroom aide or other classified employee role) while securing a debt-free
bachelor’s degree in two years or less. Half of the learning towards the degree comes from the
learner’s paid, on-the-job work, while the other half comes from rigorous and synchronous
online Oxford-style seminars held after work hours and on the weekends. Seminars are led by
Reach’s nationally-recognized teacher practitioner faculty, many of which are based in

"We value our longstanding partnership with SAU Tech and are excited to partner with SAU Tech
and Reach University to continue our mission of hiring highly qualified educators at Camden Fairview,” said Johnny Embry, Superintendent of Camden Fairview School District. “By joining forces in this new transfer program, we’ll recruit and train local people who know our students and are committed to their success. We invite every eligible SAU Tech grad to join us.”

Each program participant will pursue a Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Studies, with a concentration
in education science. To be eligible for the program, associate degree holders must be
employed in a local school and have access to an instructional work setting (i.e., a place where
the candidate can observe or participate in mentoring, teaching, tutoring, coaching, etc.) for
approximately 15 hours a week. Degree seekers will be paid throughout the duration of their
bachelor’s program, taking on zero student loan debt.

This “Associate to Bachelor’s Degree Transfer Pathway” marks Reach’s seventh community
college articulation agreement, and its fourth in Arkansas, rounding out transfer opportunities in
all regions within the state. After B.A. completion, the learner may continue working in the field
of education, but there is no obligation to do so.

“Let’s take a moment as a higher ed, workforce, and K-12 community to take note of the leading<
and solutions-driven innovation underway throughout the state of Arkansas,” said Joe E. Ross,
President of Reach University. “From K-12 through college success, leaders across the state
are removing the barriers in educational equity and degree attainment. We are incredibly proud
to partner with SAU Tech and further extend our K-12 partnerships throughout the south central
region. Together, we’re building a new talent pipeline for local schools while helping to achieve
greater degree completion for all.”

Reach’s job-embedded bachelor’s degree program is now accepting applications for the Fall '24
term. All current and former SAU Tech graduates who meet admissions requirements are
eligible to apply.

To learn more about the program, and view process and eligibility details, please visit or contact Apply@Reach.Edu.

Reach University is the regionally accredited, nonprofit university dedicated to advancing
job-embedded degrees and credentials. Reach is actively solving America's teacher shortage by
creating fully-embedded pathways for high-potential individuals to earn degrees, credentials and
jobs as teachers within their own communities. By focusing on low-income, urban and rural
regions, offering online tutorials and classes, and rendering academic credit for on-the-job
experience, Reach University is eliminating barriers to entry in high-need professions, and
building untapped pipelines of locally representative talent. Reach University currently operates
in Alabama, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas.

SAU Tech is a two-year public college that is part of the Southern Arkansas University System.
The College began in 1968 and today has an average enrollment of over 1,800 students. SAU
Tech offers NJCAA men's and women's basketball, softball, and baseball, and provides students
with housing options and full student life. Cheerleading, the Tech Scholars Program, and the
Tech Choir are all options for SAU Tech’s students. SAU Tech employs around 160 staff and
faculty and is located inside Highland Industrial Park in East Camden, Arkansas. SAU Tech
operates under the governance of the Board of Trustees of the Southern Arkansas University
System located in Magnolia, Arkansas. The chancellor of SAU Tech reports to the president of
the Southern Arkansas University System. The president is advised by a governor-appointed
board of trustees.

Media Inquiries:
For Reach University:
Lauren Bauml
(512) 923-6136

For Southern Arkansas University Tech:
Rachal Joe
(870) 574-4482

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