by WJ on Nov 28, 2016 at 10:00 AM

On October 17, 2016 the Little Rock Workforce Development Board’s (LRWDB) Executive Director, W. J. Monagle, and WIOA Project Director, Farrah Hammond, attended the Arkansas Rehabilitation Business Summit. The theme of the summit, “Inclusion Works and Improves Your Business Bottom Line,” illustrates the event’s focus on hiring persons with a disability.

The keynote speakers, Randy Lewis, Founder and President of the Nogwog Fund and retired Senior Vice President of Walgreens, and James Ashworth, Managing Director Customer Support for Southwest Airlines, made a "Business Case for Hiring People with Abilities." Panel discussions emphasized “Moving Beyond Diversity to Active Inclusion” and “Unconscious Biases.” Breakout sessions highlighted topics like “Access & Accommodations” and “Sensitivity & Disability Etiquette.”

The summit was sponsored by Arkansas Rehabilitation Services (ARS), a division of the Department of Career Education. The LRWDB is pleased to partner with ARS to provide opportunities for Arkansans with disabilities to lead productive and independent lives. For more information, you may view the program flyer: ARS Business Summit 10-17-16.pdf (134.94 kb).


by WJ on Nov 17, 2016 at 10:55 AM

On October 12, 2016 Medlinc, Inc. held a graduation ceremony  for its newest class of Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs). A CNA is a leading healthcare profession with growth opportunities as a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) or Registered Nurse (RN).

The Little Rock Workforce Development Board’s Executive Director, W. J. Monagle, and several members of the Arbor E&T staff were in attendance. Graduates included six participants in Little Rock’s Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) and YouthBuild programs. Arkansas Children’s Hospital hosted the graduation ceremony.



by WJ on Nov 10, 2016 at 4:19 PM
Filed in History | News

The Little Rock Workforce Development Board (LRWDB) announces the publication of its WIOA Transitional Local Plan. This plan is available to the public and all interested organizations for review and comment for the next thirty-five (35) days commencing November 14, 2016, at the Arkansas Workforce Center at Little Rock, located at 5401 S. University Ave., Ste. 146, Little Rock, AR 72209 during office hours Monday-Friday, 8:00am-4:30pm. The plan is also be available on the website at WIOA Transitional Local Plan.pdf.

Comments on the plan may be made in writing to the address above. All comments received before the close of business on December 15, 2016, will be included with the plan when it is submitted to the Arkansas Workforce Development Board for its review and consideration.


For further information, please contact W.J. Monagle, WIOA Program Administrator, at (501) 683-3843 or The LRWDB is an “Equal Opportunity Employer/Program” and “auxiliary aids and services are available upon request to individuals with disabilities.” The LRWDB receives funding for WIOA Programs is by the U.S. Dept. of Labor and is a proud partner of the American Job Centers.


by WJ on Nov 10, 2016 at 9:32 AM
Filed in History | News

On October 10, 2016 volunteers loaded more than 50 boxes of book for children and young adults onto a truck at the Little Rock Workforce Center (LRWFC). The book drive is intended to help flood victims in the Baton Rouge area recover from the recent weather event.

Book donations came from a variety of organizations, including Arkansas Workforce Development Services (ADWS), City Connections, and Volunteers in Public Schools (ViPS). Thank you to our partner organizations and all volunteers who donated, sorted, and prepared the books for delivery.



by WJ on Nov 4, 2016 at 10:47 AM

The Little Rock Workforce Development Board’s Executive Director, W. J. Monagle, is serving as host and point of contact for the U.S. State Department’s Professional Fellows program. The program is operated in Little Rock through a group called Global Ties Arkansas.

Mr. Seymur Valiyev from Azerbaijan is visiting Little Rock from October 18th through November  He is an up and coming young professional in the field of youth development. He has attended local meetings and participated in job shadowing activities with local youth development professionals. Mr. Valiyev currently serves as Chairperson to the Bridge to the Future Youth Public Union, a national NGO established in April 2000 by youth initiative. The organization assists in the active participation of Azerbaijan’s youth, establishment of a healthy civil society, and youth representation of Azerbaijan on an international level. You may view his full bio here: Seymur Valiyev Bio.pdf (141.41 kb).

Mr. Monagle and the LRWDB are pleased to have introduced our visiting Fellow to initiatives that organizations within the City of Little Rock and immediate region have made toward youth development. We also appreciate the opportunity to learn about youth development efforts in Azerbaijan and around the world through the experiences of individuals like Seymur Valiyev. Thank you to all who make the U.S. State Department’s Professional Fellows program a success!



by WJ on Oct 26, 2016 at 10:44 AM

Arbor E&T is hosting the fourth annual Fall Job Fair on October 26, 9:00 a.m. to Noon. The job fair will take place at the Arkansas Workforce Center at Little Rock (LRWFC), located at 5401 South University Avenue.

The job fair will feature more than thirty vendors who are actively searching for job applicants, including companies like Federal Express, Labor Ready, and the United States Military. A degree or certification is not required to participate in job fair activities.

If you want to take advantage of this opportunity to engage in meaningful connections across a wide range of industries:

  •  Bring a current professional resume (suggested)
  • Dress to impress

Please refer to the 2016 Job Fair Flyer for more information: 2016 Job Fair Flyer.pdf (194.50 kb)



by WJ on Oct 12, 2016 at 11:41 AM

On October 11, 2016 the Little Rock Workforce Development Board’s Executive Director, W. J. Monagle, spoke to members of the Arkansas Workforce Development Boardregarding “business-driven” workforce centers and development areas. His remarks are provided in full below:

Good Morning Board Members and Special Guests,

It is my honor to speak to you here in the heart of Goodwill Industries of AR where my local board member and vice-chair Brian Itzkowtiz has so successfully modeled a unique business enterprise based upon non-profit vision and objectives not only in Little Rock but across the entire state of Arkansas. In the same spirit of being “business–driven” I’d like to share a couple of additional perspectives on how your workforce centers and development areas directly impact the bottom line of business throughout our state.

And I don’t mean in our traditional role of connecting qualified applicants with employers that have good jobs – although that is still our primary concern.

In late August of this year, I was asked by Entergy Arkansas to travel to New Orleans and present at a four-state conference on the success of our Earned Income Tax Credit awareness program and our signature event “Super Saturday”, where people get free tax preparation and access to a host of other benefits. It seemed little ol’ Little Rock was reaching far more numbers than cities such as Jackson, MS; New Orleans, LA; and many places in Southeast Texas – attracting more than 300 families at last year’s event alone. They wanted to know our secrets; the big one is that we have been working together for 14 years with great partners like the AARP, Central AR Development Council, the City of Little Rock, and, Yes, the IRS. The EITC Campaign as we like to call it, includes many facets based upon building financial security and assets for moderate and low-income working families. Since Entergy became our corporate sponsor ten years ago, it has increased the level of outreach tremendously. Of course, I knew that this corporate citizenship was business-based, but I had no idea to what extent until I heard one of their executives explain that “when 40% of your customers live just above or below poverty, it permeates throughout your entire business plan.” In 2014 in Arkansas, 297,000 EITC claims were filed by Arkansas working families for a total refund to the state of over $774M. Almost $60M comes back to my City of Little Rock – and not just that year, but every year.

Elizabeth Brister is Entergy’s Manager of Corporate Social Responsibility, and in her words:

“This is a big job and no one group can do it alone.  First and foremost our partners are our community-based grantees.  They know the local lay of the land.  They know community needs and assets.  They know the history of what has been tried and worked or failed.  We rely tremendously on them.  And we think of this as more than a traditional grantee-grantor relationship.  We want to be in the thick of it with them in their local areas.  So we work in close collaboration with our community partners to figure out how our Entergy-originated efforts and connections can be of use to the broader community.”

And Indeed Entergy has worked in the thick of it with us and has emerged as a corporate stand-out, winning the U.S Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s 2014 Citizen Award for best economic empowerment program, as well as being has been honored by the national Points of Light Foundation as one of the top 50 most civic minded corporations in America in 2016.

Another initiative that Entergy strongly supports is LIHEAP or Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program funded by the US Dept. of Health and Human Services and operated in Arkansas through the 16 Community Action Agencies with oversight provided by ADHS. The community action agency in my area is the Central AR Development Council or CADC and is co-located at our center in Little Rock. To my colleagues, if you have not already established a relationship with your local community action agency, I encourage you to reach out to them; they are a tremendous resource here in AR.

Each summer and winter, the CADC opens its LIHEAP program in our center with a goal to assist utility customers who are struggling to pay their bill. $500 or $700 is the maximum that can be paid, but most assistance averages in the $150-200 range. They limit the number of customers they can see to 120 per day, 3 days per week, for 2-3 months – or until the money runs out. For many low-income customers, this keeps the heat on in the winter, or the cool running in the summer when your utility bills tend to get the most out of control.  In 2016, the Arkansas LIHEAP appropriation was just shy of $28M and served more than 60,000 households. The figures are not out yet for 2016, but historically Entergy receives something less than half of those funds (so, Entergy’s bottom line is improved by about $14M.) The other $14M of LIHEAP is distributed to more than 100 other electric companies and cooperatives, municipal utility companies, as well as gas, oil and propane companies throughout the state. Not just this year, but every year.

Again in the words of Entergy’s Ms. Brister:

“Our greatest need is the development of other partners who are interested in lifting families out of poverty and into self-sufficiency.  The … programs … put real dollars back in our local economies.  Who could be against this?  Our hope is to lead by example, inspiring more private and corporate foundations, especially in the financial sector, to join us in the effort to provide human and financial capital toward this vital initiative.”

It seems that what we hear a lot these days is that “government would be better if it were run more like a business”, and we subscribe to that philosophy entirely by producing a quality product as efficiently as possible with the resources available to us. And we do this every year, not just this year. This is evidenced by our area meeting nine of nine common measures not just this year – but for three years. It is a difficult task that all of us are charged with doing each day for our customers: we try to get them jobs with the highest wages possible while at the same time charged with engaging employers that want to pay the least wages that the market will bear. I don’t say that accusatorily, but we all need to acknowledge that that is the ironic reality, and that we will be measured by how successfully we accomplish both of those challenges. The fortunate thing is that some businesses – like Entergy – are saying not only to themselves but demonstrating to the greater world: “Business would be better if it were run more like a social service agency.”


Thank you.


by WJ on Oct 4, 2016 at 3:46 PM

On August 9, 2016 staff from the Little Rock Workforce Development Board (LRWDB) and Arbor E&T hosted 100 participants at a PROMISE Grant program celebration at Playtime Pizza. The event also served as an award ceremony to recognize the achievements of participants during summer work experiences. Of the 51 participants placed in employment, 31 completed all of the 200 allowable work hours, another 14 completed at least 100 hours, and six continue to work for local employers following their summer employment experience.

Presentation of the Diane Tucker Award – to Tatyuana Wilson – served as a highlight of the celebration. Tatyana brought her ambition and willingness to learn and grow to the Arkansas PROMISE work experience this past summer. Tatyuana, who worked this year at Metro Vocational Technical College, was an exemplary student and worker. She gained an in-depth knowledge of computer maintenance and repair through hands-on projects like building a laptop from scratch. She was on time every day and ready to work and learn. She impressed her worksite supervisor, Mr. David Crawford, so much that, as the summer drew to a close, he offered her a position at Metro Vo-Tech where he teaches. He believes that Tatyuana is passionate about computers and has a desire to be successful. Her passion not only set her apart from other PROMISE participants but provided a professional foundation that will last a lifetime.

The LRWDB began its partnership with the Arkansas PROMISE Grant consortium in January 2015 to operate a summer youth work experience program to run in concert with the Summer Youth Employment Program (SYEP).




by WJ on Sep 16, 2016 at 11:30 AM

On September 7, representatives from Detroit, Philadelphia, and Little Rock met at the new Tendaji Youth Center on the campus of St. Mark Baptist Church to share and learn about My Brother’s Keeper initiatives in urban areas across the United States. The My Brother’s Keeper Alliance is an initiative of President Obama to engage successful public and private policy programs aimed at lifting up boys and men of color. The local meeting was sponsored by the Boys & Men Opportunity Success Team (BMOST) Coalition, whose goal is to unite boys and men of color with meaningful adult relationships, mentoring and tutoring, positive role models, and service to the community.


City of Little Rock Mayor, Mark Stodola, participated in the panel with an aim toward developing public policies conducive to lifting up males of color, establishing vision and strategy for addressing this issue, and scaling programs up to meet the needs of this population. LRWDB Executive Director, W. J. Monagle, and YouthBuild Program Director, Melissa Mitchell, were in attendance to discuss the Little Rock YouthBuild program, which aligns with the My Brother’s Keeper job-driven training agenda. YouthBuild provides a "stepping stone" approach, promoting a seamless progression from education to work-based training and good paying jobs for young adults. The community-based nature of YouthBuild grants ensures that services are provided where they are needed most and are intended to reach the hardest to serve youth.


by WJ on Sep 14, 2016 at 2:10 PM
Filed in History | News

Entergy Corporation, one of the Little Rock Workforce Development Board’s (LRWDB’s) valued partners, has been honored by the national Points of Light Foundation as one of the top 50 most civic minded corporations in America. We are delighted to share the news about Entergy’s recognition as an organization that is committed to sustainable value for our owners, customers, employees and communities.

The Civic 50 sets the standard for corporate civic engagement and annually determines the most community-minded companies in the country. Points of Light is the world’s largest organization dedicated to volunteer service. The Civic 50 participants are evaluated on criteria that include community impact of financial and human resources, alignment of community engagement with business objectives and the social and business value of an organization’s community engagement.

“This year’s Civic 50 honorees demonstrate how much they value the relationships they have with the communities in which they do business and truly understand how important purpose is to both their employees and consumers,” said Tracy Hoover, CEO of Points of Light.

As part of its civic activities, Entergy recently awarded a $5,000 grant to United Way of Southeast Louisiana. Entergy also serves alongside the LRWDB as a member of the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) Coalition, supporting Little Rock’s annual “Super Saturday” tax assistance event. At Entergy’s request, on August 22 the LRWDB’s Executive Director, W. J. Monagle, delivered a presentation on the successful implementation of “Super Saturday” at a conference in New Orleans.