Radio Program Highlights Workforce Development in Arkansas

Posted at lrwib.org by WJ on 06/19/2017

The host of Speak Up Arkansas, Paul Kelly, recently highlighted the topic of workforce development as part of his regular broadcast on  KABF 88.3 FM, “The Voice of the People.” Speak Up Arkansas is underwritten by Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families. The talk radio show is dedicated to covering issues like health care, education, juvenile justice, the state budget, and family and economic security.

The Executive Director of the Little Rock Workforce Development Board, W. J. Monagle, participated in a panel discussion  with three other local workforce development leaders: Randy Zook, President and CEO of the Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce; Roger Rich, Superintendent of Southside Schools; and Cindy Varner, Vice President of Workforce Development with Goodwill of Arkansas.

Panel members discussed economic trends that affect workforce development, programs that address the needs of job seekers and employers, and community partnerships that drive success in vocational training and sustainable employment.

Economic Trends

Less than 40 years ago, nearly 75% of jobs in the United States could be filled by workers with no more than a high school education in industries like manufacturing, farming, mining, transportation, and construction. By 2022, the U. S. will lack 11 million workers with postsecondary degrees, certificates, or credentials to meet job demands. Arkansas has significant workforce development needs to assist adults over 25 with no college degree, especially as aging workers retire.

Program “Success Stories”

The Little Rock Workforce Development Board coordinates programs for adults, youth and dislocated workers through the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) as well grant-funded programs like YouthBuild, which helps at risk youth obtain a G. E. D. and vocation training. Southside Schools sponsors Project Future Story, which exposes students to career possibilities that match their interests from “pre-K through career.” Goodwill of Arkansas is launching a charter school for adults without a high school diploma in addition to regular career center offerings like resume writing and interview preparation.

Community Partnerships

Partnerships across local communities are required to help individuals overcome barriers to find and sustain employment. A viable network of employment and job-driven training programs includes roles for business, government, non-profits, and other community entities to promote economic sustainability.

To listen to the radio broadcast in its entirety, you may download the mp3 file by clicking here:  Speak Up Arkansas.mp3