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An opportunity for students to use business resources and the business setting to foster professional growth and development is available through internships in the Business Division at Phillips Community College of the University of Arkansas (PCCUA).

A partnership between the PCCUA Division Business & Information Systems and Southern Bancorp has resulted in a win-win for a PCCUA business graduate. Brandon Knowlton, of West Helena, who recently graduated with an A.A.S. degree in Information Systems Technology, was recently hired at Southern Bancorp after serving an internship there while at PCCUA. Now working at the bank, Knowlton is also pursuing his Bachelor’s Degree through the University of Arkansas at Fort Smith.

Linda Killion, PCCUA Dean of Business & Information Systems, says by partnering with PCCUA, Southern Bancorp is playing an active role in giving college students the opportunity to gain valuable work experience in the banking industry.

“A work internship is a great way to integrate students into the daily operations of the business world and can open them to many opportunities for employment. At the same time, it gives the employer a chance to become familiar with our students, their skills, and work ethics and gives them a pool from which they can hire new employees.”

Knowlton said, “I appreciate the opportunity to have served the internship with Southern Bancorp while I was in college. It provided me with valuable work skills and also gave me a feel for what I could expect from a full-time position when I completed my degree.”

PCCUA instructor Georgia Lynn, who served as Knowlton’s advisor while in college, described Knowlton as a very focused student with excellent study habits.

“He was a joy to work with, and we are so proud of him and his accomplishments,” she said.

Killion says the internship program is beneficial for both the students and the sponsoring businesses. Internships with several local businesses have proven very helpful for students working toward degrees in the business area, resulting in full-time job placement for a number of program graduates.

“This is such a wonderful opportunity for our students,” said Killion. “The degree gives them the training and skills needed to compete for good jobs, and the internships give them the real world work experience. The combination is very rewarding.”

Registration for spring semester classes at PCCUA will be held from 8 a.m. – 7 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 11, in the Administration Building. Classes begin Jan. 12. For more information on programs and classes offered through the Division of Business & Information Systems, call Killion at (870) 338-6474, ext. 1368.