The Director’s Chair: November 2022

The Director's Chair

WE HAVE SOME very good news to report this month. The U.S. Department of Labor has awarded ACDS funding under their Workforce Opportunity for Rural Communities (WORC 4) Initiative, which provides grants for the Appalachian and Delta regions of the U.S.  This three-year grant, with a total value of $1.4 million, will allow us to expand our proven model using Pre-Apprenticeship Training, Work-Based Learning (WBL) Internships, and Registered Apprenticeship Programs (RAP) to address IT-related workforce gaps throughout Arkansas.

ACDS has already been working with a Delta Regional Authority grant providing these services in Jefferson and Craighead Counties.  This new grant funds those same services still in Jefferson and Craighead, but now additionally in Jackson, Independence, and Mississippi Counties.

Pre-Apprenticeship Training is for individuals who demonstrate potential and passion, but haven’t had any, or very much, IT training.  We have a number of training partners right here in Arkansas who provide excellent self-paced courses, and others that provide curriculum and instructors for classroom or hybrid training.  This DOL grant allows us to offer these training opportunities at no cost to the candidates.

WBL Internships are for those individuals who have some training, but have no applied experience on their resume.  This grant allows us to offer interns to employers, with ACDS covering the interns’ wages.

Registered Apprenticeships are for those individuals who are “employer ready” but who need some specific training on the skills the employer requires. They start with a fulltime job on Day One, and this grant will allow ACDS to continue funding that training for the employer.

We’re grateful for this funding provided by the DRA and the U.S. Department of Labor that will allow us to “scale up” in the volume of our services and to “scale out” in the number of counties, employers, and Arkansans we can serve. The need for technology talent in Arkansas is great, and this investment will enable us to equip more Arkansans to fill in-demand technology jobs while helping to create thriving communities along the way.

–Bill Yoder,

Executive Director