The Arkansas Department of Workforce Services on Tuesday (Oct. 6) announced it has awarded Arkansas Community Colleges (formerly Arkansas Association of Two-Year Colleges) more than $4 million as part of its Arkansas Sector Partnership initiative.
The funds will be used to support the development, or expansion of, work-based training programs within the industries of advanced manufacturing, health care, information technology and the skilled construction trades.
“The goal of the Arkansas Sector Partnership initiative is to leverage partnerships and align state and local resources to deliver sector-based training programs that meet the workforce needs of key industries in Arkansas’ regional labor markets,” said ADWS Director Daryl Bassett.
The ACC is a non-profit association that represents all public community colleges in Arkansas. Twelve of ACC’s member colleges are participating in this effort and will provide work-based training programs and a variety of support services, including enhanced career services and pre-employment training to Arkansans across the state.
ACC’s Center for Workforce Director Kyla Waters said, “The 12 community colleges are working closely with the employers in their respective communities. We are pleased that already more than 40 employers have committed to hire participants of the training programs.”
This initiative, which is being funded through a grant recently awarded to ADWS by the U.S. Department of Labor, will target dislocated workers and long-term unemployed individuals.
Participating colleges and their training programs and services are as follows:
• Arkansas Northeastern College: Construction Technology, Welding, Industrial Electrical Systems, enhanced career services and pre-employment training.
• Arkansas State University Beebe (Searcy Campus): Multi-Skills Program (includes general technical skills in electronics, drafting and reading prints, quality control measurements, hand tool identification, hydraulics/pneumatics, mechanical power, welding, etc.).
• Arkansas State University-Newport: Welding and Licensed Practical Nurse.
• Black River Technical College: Enhanced career services and industrial pre-employment training.
• East Arkansas Community College: Pre-employment training and enhanced career services.
• Northwest Arkansas Community College: Entry-Level Production.
• Pulaski Technical College: Introduction to Advanced Manufacturing, enhanced career services and pre-employment training.
• South Arkansas Community College: Basic Operator’s Orientation Training, Process Technology, Welding, Industrial Equipment Maintenance, Mechatronics and enhanced career services.
• Southern Arkansas University Tech: Enhanced career services and pre-employment training.
• Southeast Arkansas College: Enhanced career services, WAGE certification and Career Readiness Certification, Welding, Microsoft Office Specialist, Emergency Medical Technician and Certified Nursing Assistant.
• University of Arkansas Community College Batesville: Certified Nursing Assistant.
• University of Arkansas Community College Morrilton: Multi-Craft Basic Workforce Training, Welding, enhanced career services and pre-employment training. underserved and minority populations.
REGIONAL WORKFORCE GRANTS AWARDED
In a closely related workforce initiative, the Arkansas Department of Higher Education has announced projects selected by members of the Governor’s Workforce Cabinet to receive Regional Workforce Planning Grants under the Workforce Initiative Act of 2015 (Act 1131 of 2015).
The Regional Workforce Grant Program seeks to create a statewide, comprehensive structure enabling students in Arkansas universities, community colleges and secondary centers to participate in career and technical education programs developed with input from area employers and address critical workforce skills gaps.
Projects were awarded based on how well they met several core requirements built around career and technical education pathways for students and how well they convey four critical elements of their planning strategy, including program need, program plan, strength of community partnerships and a budget plan.
The Regional Workforce Grants will be implemented in three stages. These projects that have been awarded planning grants will be eligible to apply for Implementation Grants in June of 2016 and Continuation Grants in 2018. Institutions were notified of the awards on Sept. 30, with the following projects approved for funding:
• Arkansas State University Mid-South: Arkansas Delta Accelerating Pathways Together (ADAPT)
• Arkansas State University – Mountain Home: Creating a Talent Pipeline to Advanced Manufacturing
• Arkansas State University – Mountain Home: Programming/Mobile Application Development
• Arkansas State University – Newport: Northeast Arkansas Educating Agriculture Technology (EAT)
• Arkansas Tech University Ozarks: Arkansas Tech University Career Training Alliance
• Black River Technical College: Training Tomorrow’s Workers Today
• Cossatot Community College of the University of Arkansas – Regional Advanced Manufacturing Partnership: Building the Pipeline
• College of the Ouachitas: High School Pre-Apprenticeship Career Pathways
• North Arkansas College: Advanced Manufacturing and Emerging Clinical Healthcare Workforce Initiative
• National Park College: Innovative Technologies Center of Excellence
• Northwest Arkansas Community College: Regional Construction Technology Pathway
• Philander Smith College: Central Arkansas Center for Workforce Innovation and Strategic Economic Public Private Partnerships (WISE P3)
• Rich Mountain Community College: Expanding Workforce Programs in Rural Arkansas
• Southern Arkansas University Tech: Aerospace Defense Sector Certification Pathways Planning Grant
• South Arkansas Community College: Futures in Information Technology (FIT)
• University of Arkansas Community College at Morrilton: University of Arkansas Workforce Alliance
• University of Arkansas Fayetteville: IT Readiness
• University of Arkansas Fort Smith: Data Analytics Academy
• University of Arkansas Fort Smith: Automation Academy
• University of Arkansas at Monticello: Workforce Alliance of Southeast Arkansas
• University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff: Jefferson STEM Work Initiative
The Governor’s Workforce Cabinet is comprised of representatives from the Arkansas Department of Higher Education, the Arkansas Department of Education, the Arkansas Department of Workforce Services, the Arkansas Department of Career Education and the Arkansas Economic Development Commission.
The Arkansas Department of Higher Education is responsible for carrying out the policy directives of the AHECB, reviewing college and university academic programs and developing funding recommendations for the state’s 11 public universities and 22 public two-year colleges as well as several other post-secondary entities.
Grant funds are expected to be distributed later this month.