Gov. Asa Hutchinson announced Monday (Jan. 24) the approval of a $1.4 million grant to add a second Be Pro Be Proud mobile workshop for jobs development and recruiting.
The grant comes from the Arkansas Office of Skills Development.
Be Pro Be Proud began in 2016 as a workforce development initiative intended to change perceptions surrounding technical careers in Arkansas. The mobile workshop is an 18-wheeler that showcases a variety of workforce opportunities in video, virtual reality, and interactive settings. Traveling to different schools across the state, students gain a better understanding of the daily work done in fields such as construction, computer programming, equipment operators, commercial truck drivers, plumbers, electricians, machinists, welders, and HVAC or fiber optics technicians. Some of the jobs showcased in the mobile workshop can pay from $35,000-$95,000 annually.
Through the program, students are introduced through video and interactive learning to different career paths and are offered more resources for skills training and job opportunities in their region.
The traveling operation has been so successful that there is a wait list of three semesters before new schools can be reached.
“Our graduation rate has increased because we have given young people options, hope, and an understanding that they can fit in through an education path that will lead to a good paying job. This is what Be Pro Be Proud has done and is a success story,” Gov. Hutchinson said.
Since 2016, Be Pro Be Proud has hosted 116,129 students over 396 cities and 679 tour stops. Over 23,000 students in Arkansas have signed up with Be Pro Be Proud to receive more information about technical careers, the opportunities that they provide, and how to begin their own career.
Be Pro Be Proud is a workforce development initiative led by the Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce/Associated Industries of Arkansas (AIA) that connects students around the state to high-tech, high-paying careers.