by WJ on Oct 27, 2015 at 3:29 PM

In 2015, there was a significant increase in the percentage of Summer Youth Employment Program (SYEP)  participants who attained their Work Readiness Goal. Overall, 83% of WIA/WIOA summer youth attained 80% proficiency across ten Work Readiness skill areas: attendance, punctuality, workplace appearance, taking initiative, quality of work, communication skills, response to supervision, teamwork, problem solving/critical-thinking, and workplace culture policy and safety.

An Employer Evaluation tool, developed by the U.S. Department of Labor and the State of Arkansas DWS, was used to measure the Work Readiness proficiency. In addition to the 10 Foundational Skills, employers had the option of adding up to five additional skill areas they considered important to their business.

Summer youth program staff were available to make the evaluation process as simple and seamless as possible. Case Managers assisted employers through employer orientations, job description content, worksite monitoring, and on-going communication.



by WJ on Oct 27, 2015 at 10:49 AM

Many employers provided excellent work opportunities for youth as part of the 2015 Summer Youth Employment Program (SYEP). Five worksites stood out as the “best of the best” this past summer.

1. Chatz Café & Catering

During Chatz Café & Catering’s fourth year of participation, Ms. Chatwood, a co-owner, mentored and trained 15-year-old Promise Grant participant, Caesar Warren. Training focused on work etiquette, interview skills and resume' building, bookkeeping software for a small business enterprise, and day to day operations. Chatz Café & Catering has indicated that they intend to host another youth next summer.

2. Gunn Funeral Home

In his seventh year of participation in SYEP, Mr. Gunn experienced his best year yet. Ms. Mayonna Bizzell was assigned to his business because she indicated an interest in funeral direction. She excelled in every area, from serving as receptionist to helping families make decisions for their loved ones. Mr. Gunn was very proud to announce that Ms. Bizzell has enrolled in classes in Funeral direction at Tuskegee (AL) Institute.

3. All About Staffing

All About Staffing experienced a very successful first year of participation. Angela Bennett, manager, indicated that Alyssa Hood was an outstanding temporary employee who took the initiative to begin tasks on her own each day and was a wonderful, skilled receptionist. The staffing company was so pleased with her work that they decided to extend Ms. Hood's summer experience until she started classes in the fall.

4. Little Rock Wastewater

As part of Little Rock Wastewater’s first year of participation. Ms. Linda Lovett served as overall supervisor and supervisors in each department immersed youth in training projects. Timothy Harris spent one week experiencing each department. Kerria Shelton and Eboni Wells were placed in Finance and Testing department(s), respectively, where they performed accounting, payroll, purchasing, procurement, mapping, and surveying duties and received training in computer skills safety materials. At the conclusion of the summer work experience, Little Rock Wastewater held a reception for the participants and their families.

5. Cromwell Architects & Engineers

Dorian Shavis, a 15 year old Promise participant, was placed at Cromwell as he had expressed an interest in architecture. The principles at Cromwell completely immersed Dorian into the day to day aspects of architecture. They trained him in specialty software such as Sketchup and Auto Desk Developer. They assigned him a project: design a home for an affordable housing project. Dorian excelled and was mentored through the project to an actual "pin up presentation".

Congratulations to each of the five best SYEP worksites and to all of the employers and youth who participated in SYEP 2015!


by WJ on Oct 26, 2015 at 5:07 PM

The Arkansas Workforce Center at Little Rock is hosting a Job Fair!

DATE:  Wednesday, October 28, 2015

TIME:  9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.

LOCATION: 5401 S. University, LR - Room 190

A variety of local employers will attend, including: Baptist Health System; Chef Shuttle; CST Brands; Delta Plastics; Department of Human Services; Easter Seals of Arkansas; FedEx; HR Block; Kroger; Labor Ready, Inc.; Lexicon, Inc.; Nike; Outlet Mall Stores; Saggio Oils & Vinegar; UALR EOC/TRIO Programs; Verizon Wireless; and YouthBuild. More participating companies are being added daily.

The job fair is open to the public. Bring your resume and dress to impress!

Call 501-682-8038 for additional information.



by WJ on Oct 26, 2015 at 4:56 PM

The LRWIB began its partnership with the Arkansas PROMISE Grant consortium in January 2015 to construct and operate a summer youth work experience program to run simultaneously and in concert with the regular WIA-funded Summer Youth Employment Program (SYEP)

Of 55 PROMISE Youth enrolled in the study from our area, 42 chose to try the experience of having a summer job. The results were astounding. The great majority of both employers and participants reported positive experiences. 34 of the 42 participants (81%) from this LRWIA completed at least 180 hours of the 200 allowable work experience hours, which was considered as the minimum for a successful program outcome. 31 of the 42 participants (73.81%) completed the entire 200 hours of allowable work experience. 

A work-readiness assessment tool conducted with employers after the program was finished revealed that 77.14% of participants were graded as proficient in ten main categories of work readiness by their employer worksite. The employers were allowed to add up to four additional categories specific to their worksites.

AR PROMISE is based on the underlying assumption that as families improve their circumstances through education, employment, and financial stability, they will be more able and willing to support the young person with a disability in pursuing her or his education and employment goals.


by WJ on Oct 9, 2015 at 4:20 PM

This summer, the Arkansas PROMISE project paid for the work experiences of nearly 300 teenagers with disabilities, with a goal of matching the teens' interests to their jobs. In the case of Cromwell Architecture and Engineering in Little Rock, the match worked so well the company wants its teen employee to come back to work next summer.

Dorian Shavis spent three days a week at Cromwell’s offices in Little Rock, learning about different aspects of the architecture industry, and his supervisors also mentored him on proper office etiquette. Cromwell gave him the opportunity to work with Habitat for Humanity and design a home that will be refurbished near his school. 

“It was great for him,” said Tina Shavis, mother of Dorian, 15, who has autism. “He is always talking about restoring impoverished neighborhoods so this gave him the opportunity to go to work at an architectural firm and learn what they do.”

The PROMISE (Promoting Readiness of Minors in Supplemental Security Income) project relies on multiple partner agencies to operate. The Arkansas Department of Workforce Services partnered with nine local Workforce Development Boards to match 183 local employers in 25 counties with 291 youth, who completed a total of 17,827 hours of work.

Planning for next summer’s work experiences begins this fall. A copy of the full press release, PSA, and webpage for employers to contact local workforce agencies regarding the PROMISE project are available on this website under the Employer Services/PROMISE Projectmenu item.



by WJ on Oct 8, 2015 at 3:27 PM
Filed in History | News

On Tuesday, October 13, 2015, Executive Director, W. J. Monagle, will present highlights of the LRWDB’s annual report for program year 2014 to the Arkansas Workforce Development Board. Mr. Monagle’s presentation will note the goals and accomplishments of the Local Workforce Development Area.

For the second time in two years, the LRWIA achieved performance goals for each of the 9 common measures, which serve as a streamlined system for assessing accountability across Arkansas and American workforce centers. By reaching these performance goals, the LRWIA improved employment and retention, earnings, education and certification, and literacy trends for adults, youth, and dislocated workers.

In addition, the LRWIA and its One-Stop Operations contractor, Arbor E&T, achieved 4 local measures, set by the Little Rock Workforce Investment Board, that focus attention upon maintaining high enrollment levels. An additional 17 local goals were instituted further focusing on populations of persons with disabilities, homeless, ex-offenders, out-of-school youth, and veterans.

Multiple initiatives contributed to attainment of the key performance measures, including: a Promoting Readiness of Minors in Supplemental Security Income, or PROMISE grant; a YouthBuild grant, veterans services, programs for “harder to serve” populations, and job fairs.

Such successful outcomes were achieved through steadfast commitment to continuous improvement and uncompromising expectations to serve as a superior workforce development resource.



by WJ on Oct 6, 2015 at 2:09 PM

On September 9, 2015, CHI St. Vincent held an appreciation event for the most recent graduating class of Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs) from Medlinc.  This event not only displayed appreciation for Medlinc, but also offered each of the graduates the opportunity to apply for patient care technician jobs at St. Vincent’s Infirmary.

Graduates of Medlinc’s 90-hour CNA training program include Mr. Quinton Davis and Ms. Japonica Bailey.

The LRWDB is delighted to collaborate with CHI St. Vincent to provide high-quality workers for in-demand patient care jobs. Likewise, the LRWDB is proud to work with Medlinc to provide job seekers with the opportunity to obtain a recognized healthcare credential that can also serve as a stepping stone to an LPN or RN license.

The partnerships with CHI St. Vincent and Medlinc illustrate the LRWDB’s continuing commitment to connect job seekers and employers and fuel high-growth professions in central Arkansas.