Workforce Development

Workforce Development

Improving upon and building a trained, highly skilled workforce is a priority in Arkansas. We've created a number of innovative programs and initiatives to create one of the nation's most job-ready populations.


The Business and Industry Training Program (BITP) is a flexible program designed for new and expanding business and industry. BITP helps these companies with recruiting workers, pre-employment training, on-the-job training, and train-the-trainer. The program also provides training assistance for existing businesses with new technology needs.

Eligible Businesses

  • Manufacturing Firms
  • National and Regional Corporate Headquarters
  • Distribution Centers
  • Intermodal Facilities
  • Knowledge-based Companies
  • Biotechnology Companies
  • Office Sector Businesses
  • Scientific & Technical Services

The Business & Training Program has three emphasis: recruiting workers, pre-employment training and on-the-job training.

Recruiting Workers

The BITP provides financial assistance to recruit workforce required for new and expanding businesses and industries in Arkansas. Workers are usually recruited through newspaper ads, but other forms of recruitment may be used. The company-specific recruitment can include working with the Department of Workforce Services, locating a site to receive applications and providing temporary help for receiving applications.

Pre-employment Training

For more than 35 years, AEDC has operated a successful pre-employment training program for new and expanding companies, customizing the number of hours and content of the training to fit the specific needs of each company.

Trainees are required to sign an affidavit that relieves the company and AEDC of any obligations to the trainee.

Pre-employment training is a plus for both the company and the trainees. It gives the trainees an opportunity to look at the company and the job, and the company an opportunity to view trainees before they are hired.

Business & Industry Training Program project managers work with AEDC's Business Development team when negotiating with new and expanding companies. The project manager then works closely with the company throughout the training project, meeting with the local educational institution and the company coordinator to find the best trainers for the company's needs.

If the company chooses to use its own out-of-state trainers for the pre-employment training, AEDC provides financial assistance for travel and lodging.

Train the Trainer

If the company chooses to send trainers from Arkansas to another plant location so they can learn to train trainees in Arkansas, the BITP provides financial assistance for travel and lodging.

On-the-Job Training

Following pre-employment training, if the trainee is hired by the company, AEDC helps pay the instructional costs to train the new employee. Hours of instruction and the number of instructors depend on the types of jobs that require on-the-job training. Financial assistance is not allowed for salary of trainees or new hires.

Back to Top


The Arkansas Economic Development Commission partners with six sister agencies to provide the Arkansas Career Readiness Certificate (CRC), which evaluates a job and compares the skills required to do that job with the skills that assessed applicants currently possess.

Utilizing a job profile created for a specific job and comparing the required skills of that job with the existing skills of an applicant allows the employer and the employee to determine if the applicant is a good match for the job.

Arkansas employers are currently using the CRC Program and report positive hiring, training, and retention statistics over the existing systems that have been used.

Joe Franklin

Department of Workforce Services

Career Readiness Certificate Program 

Back to Top


Existing Workforce Training Program Rules

EWTP Application Internal & Consultant Training

The Existing Workforce Training Program (EWTP) provides financial assistance to Arkansas's businesses and eligible consortia of businesses for upgrading the skills of the existing workforce to adapt to new or altered technologies and/or acquire new skills needed to remain competitive and economically viable. Training is for full-time, permanent employees who work at least 30 hours a week and are subject to Arkansas's personal income tax. Reimbursements are calculated according to a set of scoring criteria.

Eligible businesses:

  • Manufacturing - NAICS codes 31-33
  • Biotechnology - NAICS code 541710
  • National/Regional Corporate Headquarters - NAICS code 551114
  • Air transport - NAICS code 488190
  • Building Trades - NAICS codes 236 and 238 (23899 not eligible)

The following companies must derive at least 75 percent of sales revenue from out of state:

  • Computer Firms
  • Intermodal Facility or Distribution Center
  • Office Sector (non-retail business)
  • Scientific & Technical Services
  • Motion Picture Production
  • Eligible Employees

(Click here to search for an Education Coordinator in your area)

Back to Top


Workforce development is a priority of the state's technical colleges and institutes, which work with local business and industry to meet existing and new workforce needs. More than 95 percent of the state's population lives within a 30-mile radius of one of these institutions.

Relying on extensive employer involvement, the Arkansas Association of Two-Year Colleges developed the Workforce Readiness Curriculum. The association's Workforce Consortium serves more than 2,100 Arkansas businesses each year.

Arkansas's Workforce Investment Board coordinates one-stop centers throughout the state to ensure consistent training for jobs in Arkansas.

Back to Top


Arkansas offers valuable opportunities for workforce training programs. Along with the Existing Workforce Training Program and the Business and Industry Training Program offered through the Economic Development Commission, Arkansas is also home to a network of workforce training consortia.

A training consortium is a community-based, formal organization of businesses and industries that identifies common training needs in the area and arranges classes that are customized to meet their specific requirements.

These employer-driven consortia allow each individual community to tailor its training programs around local industry needs. Cooperative efforts between industry and educators result in classes on a variety of topics, such as computer skills, professional development, mechanical skills, welding and electrical skills.

Arkansas Area 6 Business and
Industry Training Consortium

Dr. Gene Tulberg
P. O. Box 3350
Batesville, AR 72503
(870) 612-2037

Calhoun & Ouachita County Business &
Industry Training Consortium

Micheal Bashford
P. O. Box 3107
Camden, AR 71711
(870) 574-4480

Columbia County Business & Industry
Training Consortium

Micheal Bashford
P. O. Box 866

207 Hwy 274
Magnolia, AR 71754
(870) 574-4480

Fort Smith Manufacturing Executives Association
Linda Blair
P. O. Box 3649
Fort Smith, AR 72913
(479) 788-7743

Greene County Industrial Training Center
Bert Clevenger
P. O. Box 1565
Paragould, AR 72451-1565
(870) 239-0969, ext. 5202

Henderson State University Community Education Center
Sheryl Strother
640 S. 6th Street, Suite A
Arkadelphia, AR 71923
(870) 230-5550

Johnson County Area Workforce Training Consortium
Sue Carlton or Travis Stephen
101 North Johnson
Clarksville, AR 72830
(479) 754-2340

Mid-South Business and Industry Council
Stacey Walker
4213 E. Main Street
Blytheville, AR 72315
(870) 838-2966

Russellville Industry Council
Justin Smith
1700 Helberg Lane
Ozark, AR 72949
(479) 508-3348

South Arkansas Workforce Training and Education Consortium
Jamie McConathy
P. O. Box 7010
El Dorado, AR 71731-7020
(870) 864-7193

Chris Gunn
P. O. Box 2000
Springdale, AR 72765-2000
(479) 872-8326

Workforce Training Consortium
Charley Appleby
5504 Krueger Drive
Jonesboro, AR 72401
(870) 680-8717


 Back to Top


A collaboration of leadership in education, economic development, community and business, Arkansas Works is led by Governor Mike Beebe. Inspired by the Governor’s Summit on Education and Economic Development, held for the first time in 2008, Arkansas Works is the state’s strategic initiative to coordinate education, training and economic development in Arkansas communities as a way of ensuring that Arkansas continues to provide a highly qualified and educated workforce for the future.  

Arkansas Works has become the hub for bringing together educational opportunities and job training for Arkansas citizens, while providing the resources for workforce hiring and training to aid Arkansas companies in their success.