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Arkansas’ workforce strategy focuses on training, job services

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(The Center Square) – A new report outlining how Arkansas will develop its workforce includes the creation of a statewide portal for job seekers.

The workforce strategy unveiled by Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders on Thursday also calls for the realignment of the higher education funding formula “to enhance the value of providing training that leads to gainful employment.”

The report comes from Arkansas’ Chief Workforce Officer, Mike Rogers, and the Workforce Cabinet, created by Sanders shortly after she took office in 2023.

The four priorities include the alignment of business and industry profiles, led by the Arkansas Department of Commerce; an alignment of training and career pathways and improved public school accountability; new services for job seekers and employers and regional strategic focus centers.

The recommendations place additional emphasis on technical education and job skills. Broadband, construction, engineering, health care, public safety, and other school trade programs would be enhanced at the state’s career and technical education schools and secondary career centers, according to the report.

A new online portal will match job seekers’ skills and match employers with employees who meet their needs, according to the report.

“It will serve as a one-stop hub for accessing a wide range of resources, including training programs, job listings, and career guidance, personalized to each individual’s unique skills, experience, preferences, and goals,” the report said. “The portal will simplify the journey from learning to employment, making it more efficient and user-friendly for Arkansas residents.”

The specific cost for the new initiative is not included in the report. A task force established through the Workforce Cabinet will manage work-related revenue streams across state government, the report said. A comprehensive inventory of all funding streams will be added to a structured data format. The report also calls for the integration of state and federal resources.

“Arkansas’ economy is booming, but if we don’t get workers off the sidelines and prepare them for the jobs of tomorrow, we won’t reap the full rewards of that growth,” Sanders said. “This workforce strategy will guide us toward that goal and help put every Arkansan on the path to a good-paying, valuable career.”

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