Gov. Asa Hutchinson announced Tuesday (Nov. 15) the creation of the Arkansas Manufacturing Workforce Training Center, a joint venture between the Arkansas Office of Skills Development and the Conway Development Corp. The facility will be located in Conway, Arkansas, to make it as easily accessible as possible to companies throughout the state.
The 100,000-square-foot center, located in the city center on the campus of the old Conway airport, will focus on computer numerically controlled machinery, automation, robotics, industrial maintenance, craft skills, plastic injection molding, and other customized technical needs of Arkansas companies.
The center will focus on training both incumbent workers and new hires, as well as upskilling unemployed individuals to better prepare the manufacturing workforce in Arkansas.
“Manufacturing is key to the Arkansas economy,” Hutchinson said. “So, when we found out that many of our state’s employers were sending their employees to other states to get the training they needed for Arkansas jobs, we knew that we had to remedy the situation. The Arkansas Manufacturing Workforce Training Center will be able to keep Arkansas employers and Arkansas employees in state to be trained where they can further contribute to our local and state economies. I want to thank the Conway Development Corporation and the Career Education Workforce Development Board for helping get this project off the ground.”
Estimated costs for the project are estimated at $35-$40 million. Companies are currently being surveyed by the Office of Skills Development as they move forward with the design architecture phase of the project. There has not been a timeframe disclosed for the construction and opening of the facility.
“We are thrilled that Conway will be home to the Arkansas Manufacturing Workforce Training Center,” said Corey Parks, vice president of economic development for Conway Development Corp. “For 131 years, our community has welcomed young people from across Arkansas to begin their higher education journey. We are honored to continue this history of preparing the state’s workforce by hosting incumbent workers in Conway to develop skills that will impact their futures and their communities.”