Director’s Chair: January 2020

A headshot of an old white man with white hair on the sides of his head wearing glasses, a black suit jacket, and a blue and white checkered shirt on the Director's Chair announcement.

WHAT A DIFFERENCE a year makes. Last January ACDS was still in the birthing stage—we had big plans but no office space yet. Our skeleton staff (of two) was comprised of one contract person and myself, and we were holding meetings in coffee shops.

Now it’s not only a new year but a new decade, one that I believe will be pivotal for the State of Arkansas. Thanks to the vision of Governor Hutchinson and his Blue Ribbon Committee, ACDS was created to be the catalyst for a new profile of tech excellence in our state, and while there’s much, much work to do, I’m proud to report that we’re making great strides toward that goal.

Our mission is twofold: one, to raise awareness of the need for a better-trained, more cutting-edge tech workforce in Arkansas, and two, to offer a means for closing the wide gap between tech demand and tech supply in our state. Our young staff, now with 5 full-time employees and 4 part-time contractors, have been very effective ambassadors for that message and that solution, and this month’s Newsletter offers testaments to both. Read Karl Schubert’s guest column and you’ll see just how much—and in how many ways—corporate Arkansas needs highly skilled IT and data science talent. And the Apprenticeship Report depicts one powerful way in which ACDS is working to close our tech talent gap.

As we go forward in this all-important Arkansas decade of technology, Registered Apprenticeships will continue to be a priority for us, because they’re widely considered to be the fastest, most efficient way to grow skilled tech workers who’re able to contribute to meeting corporate needs from the get-go. But there’s much more on the horizon, and I look forward to sharing all the exciting news with you in future issues.

–Bill Yoder,

Executive Director