Elective course changes career path for UACCB alum

Dalton Palmer standing with a turbine

Dalton Palmer didn’t have any plans to work in electrical maintenance until he took an industrial technology course as an elective at the University of Arkansas Community College at Batesville.

“When I enrolled at UACCB I didn’t really know what I wanted to do, but when I got to do so much hands-on learning in my industrial technology courses, I found that I really loved it. I switched my major to industrial maintenance. I can’t say enough about how much I loved the hands-on course at UACCB. I loved being able to take what I was reading about in my textbooks and then see how it works hands-on,” Palmer said.

Palmer, a Cave City native, graduated from UACCB in 2013. He was named Outstanding Technology Student that year. He continued his education at Arkansas State University-Jonesboro where he earned a bachelor’s degree in industrial technology. Palmer said he attended ASU for an additional year to get his bachelor’s in industrial technology management.

After graduating from ASU in 2016, Palmer sent out three applications for employment and all three companies offered him employment. Palmer is an electronics technician for Jonesboro City, Water, and Light. He works with the supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) software, programmable logic controllers (PLC) and handles human machine interface (HMI), electrical design and troubleshooting AC/DC motors.

“I learned a lot of what I do now in my career at UACCB. What I learned in my courses there put me ahead of the game when I came to work here,” Palmer said.

Palmer said he felt like the industrial trade was in need of more skilled workers.

“I feel like the industrial trade is diminishing. There’s always a need for trained workers in this field. If you like working with your hands and problem solving, this is a great career field. You do something new every day. It’s a constant challenge because we are always adapting to new technology. I never would have known I enjoyed this time of work this much if I hadn’t taken the electrical class at UACCB,” he said.

Palmer encourages students to explore course options outside of their major. “Keep an open mind. If something interests you, take a course as an elective. Don’t feel pressured to choose a particular field. You might make a lot of money, but you could be miserable doing it. Be happy doing what you do for a living,” he said.