Director’s Chair: March 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.

IF YOU’VE BEEN a regular reader of this column, you know that from the moment of our founding in late 2018, ACDS has made it a priority to build up the number of registered IT apprenticeships in Arkansas. The U.S. Department of Labor invests in these programs across the country, and we quickly learned that apprenticeships are the most cost-effective pathway to take people with passion and potential, train them in the specific skills that employers require, and put them in a rewarding career. The employer benefits, the employees and their families benefit, and our state has one more IT job with an Arkansan working for an Arkansas company.

We hit the ground running in 2019 and launched our first apprenticeship cohorts in the fourth quarter of that year. When 2020 rolled around, we met it enthusiastically, with aggressive goals. Then came the pandemic, which made everyone’s life and work all the more difficult.

But guess what: Our quarterly meetings with the DOL brought some encouragement: “You guys are doing much better than most, believe me,” they said. And this month we learned that Arkansas finished 2020 ranked 2nd in the nation for total number of IT apprentices.

More than half of the U.S. states doing Registered Apprenticeships are in the Department of Labor OA (Office of Apprenticeship) system, as is Arkansas; others are SAA (State Apprenticeship Agency) states. Data for Registered IT apprenticeships is reported to the Registered Apprenticeship Partners Information Data System, called RAPIDS, and here are the top five for 2020:

South Carolina………..110





We at ACDS are proud of our team and proud of our apprenticeship partners— the Arkansas Office of Skills Development, participating employers, educators, government agencies, and training providers. In the spirit of March Madness, we intend to keep up the full court press.

–Bill Yoder,

Executive Director

* (highest reported SAA state)