Director’s Chair: November 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.

IF YOU’RE READING this, you’re likely in an IT occupation. If so, I’m asking you to recommend to two others who aren’t that they should consider pursuing a career in IT. There are some 60,000 IT jobs in the state of Arkansas, and right now approximately 5,000 are going unfilled. This isn’t static data—the number of IT jobs in our state grows by approximately 1,500 every year, and the number of those unfilled grows too. These are very good, well-paying jobs and careers right here in Arkansas.

We have companies in all sectors and all sizes that need IT talent to maintain and grow their businesses. So where are we as a state going to find the necessary tech talent? Two years ago, a very smart man, Charles Morgan, said to me, “Bill, Arkansans are smart; they just need to be trained.” Fast forward to today. A number of our citizens are unemployed because of COVID-19. Some have fortunately started back to work or have found other employment, but there are a lot who have not. And beginning this month, those unemployed Arkansans are being offered an opportunity to find out if they would be a good fit for pursuing a career change to IT.

Working with the Arkansas Office of Skills Development (OSD) and the Arkansas Division of Workforce Services, ACDS is inviting those unemployed Arkansans to take our free IT careers assessment. It’s a fairly simple process—they just respond to our email and we take it from there. So far, we’ve contacted over 50,000 unemployed or underemployed Arkansans, and we’ll continue until we contact them all.

We know that not everyone will want to consider the opportunity for an IT career, and not everyone will be an appropriate fit. But those who do and are will be offered free training courses that could prepare them for an apprenticeship program that comes with a fulltime job.

This ambitious program is called ReSkill Arkansas, and you can learn more about it on the ACDS website ( When you talk to those two friends about considering an IT career, please direct them to that site.

Finally, on a different subject, the holiday season begins this month. With all that 2020 has pitched at us, we need to celebrate and “virtually hug” our family, friends, neighbors, colleagues—everyone we meet. They may not be able to see your smile, but from your act of kindness they will see your heart. Happy Holidays to all, from ACDS.

—Bill Yoder,

Executive Director