Presentation deck from the 2022 ACT Workforce Summit
Gov. Asa Hutchinson said the No. 1 question he gets in recruiting private industry to Arkansas is how is industry going to get a workforce. The 10 counties in the Southeast Arkansas Economic Development District have become certified as ACT Work Ready Communities, state and district officials announced Wednesday.
"What you have done has allowed us to make the case that we have the workforce that is trained [and] ready to go," the Republican governor told more than 50 officials from southeast Arkansas at the state Capitol. "We know exactly their levels of expertise. They are certified, and we can make the case that southeast Arkansas is ready to do business and ready to receive a new investment of industry."
“This achievement required a collaborative effort of a number of groups and individuals,” said Brad McGinley, chairman of Kick Start Sheridan. “It’s a great promotional tool for our community and clearly demonstrates that Sheridan and Grant County are ready to compete for more, better-paying jobs.”
The American Council on Education recently upgraded its recommendations for college credit equivalents to be applied towards earning the ACT WorkKeys National Career Readiness Certificate. The new framework took effect August 1st and runs through July of 2025.
Workforce Development Professionals Month was created in 2005 by the National Association of Workforce Development Professionals (NAWDP) to raise awareness about the importance of our industry to a growing national economy. Originally celebrated in May, NAWDP moved the designation to September in 2012. The U.S. Senate passed a resolution naming September 2021 Workforce Development Month.
The Arkansas Economic Development Commission annual report's section on Existing Business Resources touted WorkKeys Job Profiling and the WorkKeys National Career Readiness Certificate. The Arkansas Manufacturing Solutions Team created more than two thousand jobs with $66 million in new investment by integrating WorkKeys with workplace and supply resilience efforts.
Empowered by a $450k Pennsylvania Smart Grant, Develop Tioga launched Tioga Works. Strategies include STEM programs, WorkKeys, and Work Ready Communities. This summary from the Wellsboro Gazette tracks the early efforts of Tioga Works.
Arkansas Ready for Life launched enhancements to their online career exploration cards that link to WorkKeys skill profiles. The new tool helps users set understand the skills they need to acquire to meet career and life goals. Available now at https://www.readyforlife.com/, users can browse career pathways and personalize learning with a wide variety of courses. The currently employed can browse industry or other training while prospective hires can become familiar with a new field before applying to a position.
"In looking at the ACT Work Ready Communities, I can see that they have and are taking the steps to develop a well-trained workforce that has the skill base to satisfy the requirements of my clients. Furthermore, now I know I can count on an ACT Work Ready Community for a good site location."
Pagie Webser, Owner
Webster Global Site Selectors
As workforce development typically focuses on skill and availability, other economic and community development practices can make or break those workforce efforts. Examples include housing, broadband internet, childcare, and today’s focus in Episode 35, transportation. Abigail Seldin from the Seldon-Haring-Smith Foundation (SHSF) brings us insight on the importance of transit for community college students. We’ll explore the impact of mapping efforts to boost transit options, the interface of public policy, and advice on how to connect these strategies to a Work Ready Community.