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SEARK College Announces New Bench Jeweler Program in Partnership with Sissy’s Log Cabin June 07, 2023 (1 comment)


Pine Bluff, AR--Southeast Arkansas (SEARK) College has announced a new technical program designed to prepare the next generation of bench jewelers. The program is being offered in partnership with Sissy’s Log Cabin, the Mid-South’s largest family-owned jewelry store with locations in Pine Bluff, Little Rock, West Little Rock, Jonesboro, Memphis, and Conway.

“We are proud to partner with SEARK College in the establishment of a much-needed program to help train bench jewelers,” said Sissy’s Log Cabin CEO, Bill Jones. “The customized curriculum provides an opportunity to build a skill set that is in demand in Arkansas and throughout the United States—we can’t wait to hire the first graduate!”

Program by Master Jeweler Christo Kiffer

The program’s curriculum was designed by Master Jeweler Christo Kiffer (shown above), who works for Sissy’s Log Cabin.  Kiffer specifically built the program following the European apprenticeship model. Kiffer has more than 30 years of experience in jewelry design and has won several awards in national and international design contests, including winning twice the coveted American Gem Trade Association’s (AGTA) Spectrum Award.

“The curriculum is unique,” said Dr. Steven Bloomberg, President of SEARK College. “We had the benefit of designing a Bench Jeweler program in collaboration with an Internationally known Master Jeweler, I am not aware of any existing programs that have a similar approach.”

6,100 Annual Job Openings

Data from the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), projects approximately 6,100 annual job openings for jewelers and precious stone workers—these openings are expected to result from the need to replace workers who are preparing to retire and exit the workforce, according to the SEARK College release. “We simply cannot find quality-trained bench jewelers,” said Bill Jones. “This program and our partnership with SEARK College is the answer.”

Aspiring bench jewelers can complete the program in one year through SEARK College with additional advanced-level training offered after the first year. Graduates can expect to earn approximately $40,000 plus in their first year of employment, said the release. The cost for students is $8,500, which includes a bench jeweler’s tool kit. The inaugural class is set to begin August 21, 2023. Student housing and food service is available, as well as Federal financial aid, including Pell Grants, for those who qualify.

For more information about the program, or to reserve a space now, contact Dr. Steven Bloomberg, President of SEARK College, at

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Comments (1):

Wow, and THANK YOU!!! There is such a need in our industry. The existing schools can not handle the student demand.

Are there any more details - like the number of months and the hours of training each week? Super amazing and thank you again!

By Debbie Fox on Aug 19th, 2023 at 8:56pm

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