Honorable Asa Hutchinson Cuts Ribbon on Tech Depot in Newport

The Tech Depot Logo: A red box with the name in the center, the "o" in "depot" is a power button.

For Immediate Release
Newport Economic Development Commission

The Honorable Asa Hutchinson, Governor of Arkansas, joined a group of dignitaries and local citizens on Wednesday, September 16, 2020 to officially open Tech Depot, an information technology apprenticeship academy in Newport, Arkansas. Tech Depot will offer IT training for individuals who are employed as apprentices to Arkansas companies and will further the recommendation of Governor Hutchinson’s Blue Ribbon Commission to increase technology skills and jobs in Arkansas. Tech Depot is being brought to reality by a partnership between the Arkansas Center for Data Sciences, Arkansas State University-Newport, and the Newport Economic Development Commission.

Tech Depot will be located in the historic Iron Mountain Train Depot located at 425 Front Street in Newport. The academy will be the center of Newport’s Downtown Technology Park, DTech Park. “Using the robust broadband technology downtown, along with available office and networking space, we will be able to host a wide variety of remote working centers and tech based back offices,” shared Jon Chadwell, Director of the Newport Economic Development Commission. “We will be working to use technology to further diversify our economy and to support the advanced manufacturing plants already located in Jackson County.”

The Arkansas Center for Data Sciences (ACDS) will manage the Tech Depot and will take the lead in matching companies to apprentices and selecting training providers for a variety of information technology skills. Courses will be offered in General IT Skills, Data Analysis, Cyber Security, and Software Development. More subject areas will be added over the next two years to meet industry demand. ACDS will contract with educational service providers to offer industry specific instructional content. “ACDS is very excited about our partnership with ASU-Newport and the Newport Economic Development Commission,” stated Bill Yoder, Director of the Arkansas Center for Data Sciences. “Each of the partners brings significant resources that will make this project a model for the future.”

Arkansas State University-Newport (ASU-Newport) will be the educational content provider for the initial IT Generalist class that will start on September 28, 2020. ASU-Newport’s experience with industry driven training programs and with their current apprenticeship models will create an immediate trust in the effectiveness of the training curriculum. “We are thrilled to be part of the initial class at Tech Depot and look forward to developing additional curriculum with ACDS and our industry partners,” shared Dr. Sandra Massey, Chancellor of ASU-Newport.

Governor Hutchinson’s office was instrumental in the creation of Tech Depot and made sure that the necessary partners were at the table during the early discussions. One of those partners was consultant G.B. Cazes of the Emory Group. G.B. Cazes added, “The Governor’s office introduced me to Jon Chadwell in Newport. We sat down and started brainstorming and before we knew it Tech Depot was born, and partners were asking to be involved.” The Emory Group will remain engaged in the project moving forward.

For more information about how your company can hire apprentices, how you can become an apprentice, or how your business can thrive in DTech Park or at Tech Depot, visit the website dtechpark.com or call 870-523-1009. The first class will begin on September 28, 2020 and a few spots are left for companies that need an IT Generalist on staff. Future classes will be added in the near future and spots are currently being reserved.