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Workforce Training Legislation

April 6th, 2015

        As the economy and technology rapidly evolve, many workers find the need to learn new skills.   Industries and businesses that are looking to call Arkansas home want assurances that well trained and highly skilled employees are available. 

      This is why Arkansans witnessed a bi-partisan effort in the 90th General Assembly to address workforce training.

      There are 3 key pieces of legislation addressing the workforce.

      One of the bills establishes local workforce development boards across the state.  SB791 ensures these boards will analyze the economic conditions of the region, gather needed knowledge and skills of the region, and know the current workforce and development activities.  Regular updates from these boards to the Governor’s office will help in developing a statewide labor market information system.

      Needs from industry in one part of the state may be entirely different from another.  Since a one size fits all approach may not be beneficial for Arkansans, these local boards will help to ensure people from each region will have access to the training needed. 

      Senate Bill 368 creates a skills development fund from private grants.  This money can be used by the Department of Career Education to fund job skill training needs.  This bill also passed the House this week and is now awaiting the Governor’s signature.

      SB891 establishes guidelines for the Department of Higher Education for the distribution of workforce initiative funding. 

      The idea of the entire legislative package is to have our 2 year colleges, technical schools, high schools and our state agencies to operate together.