The Director’s Chair: February 2023

The Director's Chair

IN SOME AREAS of the country, they call this time of year “the dog days of winter.” But looking around in Arkansas right now, the jonquils are ready to bloom, and it’s 70 degrees outside.

The forecast is just as nice in this month’s newsletter. All around this great state, there are a number of innovative programs addressing much-needed workforce advances. Please take a few minutes to read this month’s Q & A to find out what’s being planned in Newport, up in Jackson Country. The ideas they’re implementing there may also be relevant to your own community.

Elsewhere in this issue you’ll read the improbable story of how Arkansas became a global force in FinTech. You’ll also learn why Registered Apprenticeships are an especially smart strategy for businesses across different industry sectors in periods of business downturns. I can tell you that Arkansas is getting national attention for its IT apprenticeship program, and ACDS specifically is being recognized for our “end-to-end” process connecting employer skills demand with Arkansans in our statewide talent pool. We were recently asked to share our ACDS approach with a number of fellow Department of Labor-Closing the Skills Gap grantees. And now I’m pleased to announce that ACDS has been invited to present at the Department of Labor’s 2023 APPRENTICESHIPS: CLOSING THE SKILLS GAP GRANTEE CONFERENCE, which takes place March 15 in Washington, D.C.

Congratulations to the State of Arkansas, and specifically to the leadership of the Office of Skills Development in the Arkansas Department of Commerce. And, of course, to each and every one of our deserving ACDS team members.

–Bill Yoder,

Executive Director