Gov. Hutchinson to Speak at Workforce Skills Conference

by Talk Business & Politics ([email protected]) 98 views 

A new program from the Springdale Chamber of Commerce aims to build collaboration between local businesses and high school educators.

The Academy for Career Educators is scheduled for June 6-9 at the Corporate Training Center of McDonald’s on East Mountain Road in Springdale.

The goal of A.C.E.S. is to provide educators better insight into available career opportunities and the skills needed to obtain those jobs and equip them to more effectively improve the career-awareness and job-preparedness for students, according to the press release.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson will kick off the event, with a speech at 9:15 a.m. on June 6.

“My number one priority is economic growth and job creation in Arkansas,” Hutchinson said, according to the press release. “If we are serious about growing Arkansas’s economy, then we have to be serious about training our workforce.”

The featured speaker on June 6 will be Ted Abernathy, the economic development policy adviser to the Southern Governors Association and a 35-year veteran directing economic development and workforce development programs, at 9:30 a.m.

Abernathy is a former executive director of the Southern Growth Policies Board and a former executive vice president and chief operations officer for the Research Triangle Regional Partnership, where he helped generate 65,000 new jobs and almost $10 billion in investment, according to the press release.

Discussion topics throughout the conference will include identifying future skills needs, developing business partnerships, soft skills and the trades’ image issue, and participants will hear from officials at Northwest Technical Institute in Springdale and Northwest Arkansas Community College in Bentonville.

There will also be facility tours of Cargill, Kawneer and the Tyson Discovery Center, according to the chamber.

The idea for A.C.E.S. grew from a comprehensive skills and needs analysis and 10-step action plan formed by the Springdale Chamber by Economic Leadership LLC, a North Carolina-based economic development consulting firm.

“Our research highlighted the need for more communication between our employers and our educators,” Perry Webb, president and CEO of the Springdale Chamber, said in the press release. “The chamber recognized it could play an important role by connecting our career-focused educators directly with our employers, allowing them to hear about the opportunities that exist and the skills required.”

Springdale employers participating in the A.C.E.S. conference as panelists and mentors include Tyson Foods, Inc., George’s, Inc., AT&T, Kawneer Company Inc., Cargill Inc., APAC Central Inc., J.V. Manufacturing Inc., American Tubing Inc., Rockline Industries, McDonald’s, South Coast Baking, Fig Tree Steel, Baldwin & Shell Construction Inc., Northwest Technical Institute and Northwest Arkansas Community College.

Other major partners in the A.C.E.S. program are the Springdale School District administration and the high school educators who work as student advisers or in career and technical education fields, according to the chamber.