Gov. Asa Hutchinson announces launch of Home Base Arkansas initiative for service members and familiesNovember 11, 2020
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – An interactive employment database that is the result of a collaboration among the Arkansas Economic Development Commission (AEDC), Arkansas Development Finance Authority, and the Northwest Arkansas Council is just one of many features of HomeBaseArkansas.com, a one-stop website for service members and their families in Arkansas, Gov. Asa Hutchinson said today in announcing the launch of an initiative to promote the state as the “Place to Call Home” for military families.
“Our veterans, retired military service members, and active duty service members all bring a variety of skills and experiences that are unique to military service,” said Gov. Hutchinson. “They enhance a community in ways that no others can. Thus, we have partnered with industry to provide employment, apprenticeships, and educational opportunities to veterans and service members transitioning to civilian life. This tool will allow them to look for opportunities that match interests, training, and skills.”
Home Base Arkansas fills the state’s need to support veterans and transitioning service members as they find a permanent place to call home as they transition out of service by connecting them with available opportunities in Arkansas. It also bridges the gap between skilled service members and Arkansas employers seeking qualified workers.
“Our veterans and transitioning service members provide a unique contribution to our communities,” said Arkansas Department of Commerce Secretary and Executive Director of the Arkansas Economic Development Commission Mike Preston. “Whether they are current members, transitioning to civilian life, or looking to retire here, we want them to know about the many educational and employment opportunities that Arkansas can provide them. This initiative is the perfect way to get the word out that Arkansas is a great place to call home.”
To welcome servicemen and their families to Arkansas, Home Base Arkansas provides information about military benefits, employment, education, and relocation resources in the state, including tax exemptions, licensure portability, housing, and more. At the center is the Workforce Connection job database that allows military personnel to identify available positions throughout the state based on transferable skills. Job seekers can find positions related to their degrees, browse career clusters, find careers that fit their interests, explore careers consistent with their values, and/or find careers linked to their military backgrounds – all by answering a few brief questions.
“The Governor’s Military Affairs Committee has worked for some time to create a tool to first welcome service members and their families to Arkansas and then do all we can to aid them in making Arkansas their permanent home after their service is complete,” said Col. (Ret.) Robert Ator, AEDC’s Director of Military Affairs. “The goal is to lessen the burden on our military families when they receive orders to Arkansas by connecting them to resources explaining benefits, schools, and licensure portability. We want to assist both military veterans and retirees to find their next career by giving them a unique website tool to help with their efforts before they even arrive here. We are proud of the site’s ability to answer their needs wherever they are – at their current assignment or even in a deployed environment. It is all about serving those who have sacrificed for all of us.”
This dedication to service members is what drew Col. Mike Kirby to Arkansas when he retired from the U.S. Air Force.
“After 26 years of service in the U.S. Air Force, I chose to retire to Arkansas three years ago, and I haven’t looked back,” Col. Kirby said. “I was born in Iowa and spent most of my career in Texas. But after a four-year assignment to Little Rock Air Force Base, I knew this was a serious contender for my ‘forever home.’ After studying my options, I concluded that Arkansas had everything listed on my retirement home dream sheet.”
In addition to the website, Home Base Arkansas has an in-person representative, Brad West, available to discuss the advantages of living in Arkansas. This representative is contracted to attend Transition Assistance Program briefings to provide more information on living and working in Arkansas.
“I am proud of HomeBaseArkansas.com and the opportunities it will provide for the men and women who have done so much for this state and nation. I will work tirelessly to ensure we are answering each of their needs,” said West.