Director’s Chair: November 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.

LAST WEEK WAS National Apprenticeship Week. Each year in November the Department of Labor raises the awareness of the value of Registered Apprenticeship as a valuable workforce development alternative. Here in Arkansas, there were more than 30 events statewide—employer forums in a number of industry sectors, apprenticeship signings, cohort kickoffs, daily webinars featuring Day-in-the-Life profiles covering multiple industries and occupations. Lots of great collaboration all over the state. It kept your ACDS team busy.

If you’ve been reading this column over the past three years, you know that Arkansas has been very focused on growing Registered Apprenticeships, and to date the statewide number of active apprentices approaches 8,000. The goal is 10,000 by the end of 2022. Those apprentices are working across all sectors—manufacturing, trades, healthcare, and now also IT.

In this October-December quarter that we’re in, ACDS is shooting to sign 100 new IT Registered Apprenticeships. Our goal is 400 a year, and this will be the litmus test of whether or not we can deliver. So this week, as we all pause to celebrate Thanksgiving, we at ACDS will give thanks for all the apprenticeships we already have. And you can bet we’ll be offering up a little Thanksgiving prayer for the ones we still need to sign. Happy Belated Apprenticeship Week, and Happy Thanksgiving to you all.

–Bill Yoder,

Executive Director