The Director’s Chair: October 2019

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.

IT’S TIME FOR the ACDS team to get a little well-earned recognition. If you’ve been following Lonnie Emard’s articles in the Apprenticeship Report, you have a pretty good grasp of the overall process. It begins with our contacting prospective Arkansas employers, and over the past 100 days we’ve been focused on creating first an awareness, then an interest, and finally a commitment to participating.

Lonnie, Lisa Wiggins, Ashley French, and partners have created much excitement and great expectations. We’ll be launching apprenticeship programs in Little Rock, Conway, and Fayetteville in the fourth quarter of 2019 and the first quarter of 2020. Considerable care is being given to assure that all parties—both employers and apprenticeship candidates—are one-hundred-percent satisfied with the results of these initial programs.

Ashley, Lisa & Lonnie in action!

The demand for IT resources is real and Arkansas employers are starting to see apprenticeship programs as an additional talent sourcing and development strategy. Some employers are choosing to do their own apprenticeship programs in-house with a dedicated cohort, and others are leveraging the program delivery with several other employers and with a community cohort. In either case, ACDS is prepared to pitch in where necessary—helping with the program process, interfacing with the Department of Labor, and contracting for curriculum and instructors.

Our commitment to our ACDS stakeholders is to have 400 IT apprentices trained by 12/31/2020, and to that end we’ve already forged appropriate partnerships with the NWA Council, UA Global, Arkansas Coding Academy, and the American Cyber Alliance—groups that will soon be delivering apprenticeship programs for developers, data analysts, and cybersecurity specialists.

Please feel free to contact me with any suggestions or follow-up questions.

–Bill Yoder,

Executive Director