Director’s Chair: July 2021

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.

THE WORD FOR July 2021 is gratitude! Here we are just past the middle of the year, and we’re actually able to enjoy some of this summer. And while we do, we at ACDS want to express our thanks to all of you with whom we’ve built relationships over the past 24 months. To the Arkansas employers who’ve found the apprenticeship model to be a successful supplemental staffing strategy, we appreciate your commitment and trust. To those Higher Education leaders who’ve supported ACDS, offered excellent advice when we could use it, and have kept their own commitments to an emphasis on data science (an emphasis that will pay dividends for all Arkansans), we value you. And to all the State agencies that support and partner with ACDS—the Office of Skills Development, the Arkansas Division of Workforce Services, and the Arkansas Economic Development Commission—thank you, thank you, thank you.

We start a new fiscal year with the State of Arkansas each July 1st, and this year we’ve more than doubled our targets. We ended 2020 with 40 employers committed to the Registered Apprenticeship model, and we had 100 apprentices with jobs and training. After just six months into 2021, more than 100 employers have committed to participating, and we’ve placed 127 apprentices in less than seven months across a number of IT occupations—Software Development, Data Analyst, Cyber Specialist, IT Generalist, IT Business Analyst, and Robotic Process Automation.

Last but not least, we’re grateful to, and for, the individuals who’re looking to begin a career in IT or to upskill their current positions. As I think I’ve told you, a wise man once said to me, “People from Arkansas are smart, they just need to be trained.”

I would be remiss if I didn’t add a large thank you to the entire ACDS team. You are appreciated.

Bill Yoder,

Executive Director