Workforce Training in Arkansas

Arkansas’s diverse industrial base provides an ample supply of experienced manufacturing workers. The manufacturing sector accounts for 12.7% of the state’s jobs. Throughout the years, the sector has shifted from agriculture-based to light manufacturing to more sophisticated processes and products such as advanced food packaging, transportation equipment, and primary and fabricated metals.

A workforce that works wonders. As a right-to-work state, Arkansas boasts proud people who step up to any job. We see ourselves not just as a strong workforce but united; dedicated to elevating our communities.

The Arkansas Economic Development Commission (AEDC) has the ability to assist new and existing industry with the growth of their workforce through training programs. In addition, AEDC provides valuable connections with other state agencies and serves as a liaison to the state’s educational system ensuring that training needs are effectively addressed.

AEDC’s Manufacturing Solutions division works closely with many public and private organizations to bring world-class guidance, training, and resources to Arkansas manufacturers.

Statewide Initiatives and Partnerships

The Business and Industry Training Program (BITP) is a flexible program designed for new and expanding businesses and industries. BITP has three emphases: recruiting workers, pre-employment training and on-the-job training.

The BITP provides financial assistance to recruit the workforce required for new and expanding businesses and industries in Arkansas. The Office of Skills Development (OSD), under the direction of the Arkansas Department of Career Education, offers a 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.

Eligible Businesses:

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

The state is transitioning to the National Career Readiness Certification (NCRC) to allow additional visibility of our workforce on a national level. The NCRC allows prospective employees the ability to document the skills that they possess and assists companies with a method (via ACT WorkKeys Job Profiles) of matching potential workforce with existing job openings, thus reducing turnover and increasing profitability.

Benefits of National Career Readiness Certificate to Employers:

  • Reduces turnover, overtime, and waste
  • Increases morale
  • Takes the guesswork out of selection decisions
  • Improves the effectiveness of training dollars
  • Meets Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) requirements
  • To learn more about the Arkansas Career Readiness Certificate program, visit dws.arkansas.gov.

The Modern Workplace program was created to bridge the divide between educators and industry representatives.

Educators and industry representatives collaborate to create an education environment that allows our emerging workforce to lead productive lives and satisfy the needs of Arkansas businesses.

Objectives of the program:

  • Connecting educators with local/regional employers to gain familiarity with local products and processes utilized in the workplace.
  • Linking employers with the local/regional school system to foster ongoing relationships with educators.
  • Providing educators with local/regional business contacts they can use to supplement current teaching curriculum.
  • Familiarizing educators with career opportunities in local industry and the skills needed to be successful.

For additional information, contact Ashley Williams at [email protected].

Provides training and consultation, and administers the Governor’s Quality Award Program. Any public or privately held organization of any size located in Arkansas may apply.

The Institute uses the seven categories of the Criteria for Performance Excellence as a guideline for training and application to the Governor’s Quality Award. There are four levels of the application:

  • Challenge
  • Commitment
  • Achievement
  • Governor’s Award for Performance Excellence

Consultants can also assist organizations not applying for an award in performing self-assessments using the Criteria for Performance Excellence. More information can be found at arkansas-quality.org.

The Future Fit program helps to place qualified individuals directly into well-paying jobs with participating companies throughout Arkansas. Participants of Future Fit will complete a training program that will prepare them for entry-level employment with these companies.

The first course will take approximately 120 hours of combined hands-on and on-line training for the basic skills needed to be successful in a manufacturing position. Two additional courses are under development.

Steve Sparks

Director, Existing Business Resources

(501) 682-1350