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story.lead_photo.caption Alexis Teal, with the Arkansas Bar Association, talks with Kelly To on Tuesday about ways to use Facebook during the Facebook Community Boost event in Little Rock. ( Arkansas Democrat-Gazette / Staton Breidenthal)

Facebook and the University of Arkansas-Pulaski Technical College are partnering to create a digital marketing course.

More than 400 people, including some small-business owners, attended a Facebook Community Boost event Tuesday in Little Rock where Paul Grewal, vice president and deputy general counsel for the social media company, announced a digital marketing certificate to be established at Pulaski Tech in the near future.

Margaret Ellibee, chancellor for the North Little Rock-based community college, said the program aligns perfectly with Gov. Asa Hutchins on's emphasis on increasing computer skills in Arkansas.

"Gov. Hutchinson has made a substantial effort to teach our children important skills like coding," Ellibee said. "We see alignment with his initiative with this partnership. This will have a large impact on our local communities."

The digital marketing curriculum will be geared toward Arkansas students, entrepreneurs, and business owners.

Pulaski Tech is one of a small number of community colleges Facebook has partnered with over the past year, officials said.

"With more than 80 areas of academic and career focus, UA-Pulaski Tech is the top community college serving the Little Rock metropolitan area," Facebook stated in a release.

The partnership is part of a goal Facebook set to have 1 million people and small-business owners trained across the U.S. by 2020.

"Over 62 percent of small-business owners said having digital or social media skills is an important factor in their hiring decisions," said Ana Martinez, a Facebook representative. "This is a way to bring digital skills and training to everyone."

The social media company said more than six in 10 Arkansas small-business owners told them that Facebook is important to running their business. Small businesses in Arkansas told Facebook that the platform helps them hire additional employees and reach more customers outside their city, state, and country.

The details of each program are slightly different with each college partner, and Pulaski Tech is still hammering out the details on the curriculum.

"The program will be geared toward the needs of Arkansas," Martinez said.

One of the program courses will feature training on social media marketing, including Facebook certified curriculum on best practices using the Facebook Ad Manager and Instagram for marketing, according to a news release.

Bentley Wallace, dean of the School of Technical and Professional Studies at Pulaski Tech, said the partnership is a great opportunity for the college and Arkansas.

"To have the opportunity to teach not only Little Rock or even Arkansas, but the entire southeastern part of the United States important digital skills, is an amazing thing," Wallace said.

Little Rock Mayor Mark Stodola and Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge attended the event, Facebook representative Ashley Frans said.

Wallace said officials hope to have the program up and running sometime next year.

Photo by Staton Breidenthal
Josh Abah, with Facebook’s Small Business Team, gives a presentation Tuesday during the Facebook Community Boost event in Little Rock.

State Desk on 12/12/2018

Print Headline: College, Facebook plan to team up; Pulaski Tech to offer program for digital-marketing skills

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