The Director’s Chair: October 2023

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.

I HAVE ALWAYS felt that, next to April, October is my favorite time of year. Change of season, more perfect weather days, and putting together strategy and plans for the coming 12 months. For the ACDS team, as part of the Arkansas Apprenticeship Alliance, 2024 is already looking like a watershed year.

A quick review of the ACDS business model: ACDS doesn’t sell anything. We provide services for Arkansas employers, and quality careers for individual Arkansans. Our funding comes from public/private entities. We have federal grants, state grants, private foundation grants, and private donations. After four years of operation, we’ve established our value proposition and a reputation as a trusted steward of the funding that we have received. Going forward, ACDS continues to move to more federal and private funding as a percentage of our total budget. Without asking, we’re increasingly hearing from corporate organizations and individuals who, upon learning about ACDS and our work for Arkansas, ask, “How can we help?”

This month we’re formally introducing a “Donate” capability on the website under the theme Give the Next Generation of Arkansans a Brighter Future. Our initial funding launch has a goal of $100,000 by January 31, 2024. If you’re receiving this newsletter, please consider ACDS as one of the options for your support of our great state. ACDS “rings the bell” every time an Arkansan goes to work for an Arkansas employer. To date, we have 130 employers participating statewide, and more than 700 Arkansans, through our apprenticeship program, in jobs with a starting average income of $60,000. And we’re just getting started!

I invite you to share your thoughts and recommendations.

–Bill Yoder, Executive Director