Main Street Jonesboro, Workforce Initiatives Draw Accolades in Competition

by Arkansas Business Staff  on Monday, Mar. 25, 2013 12:00 am  

Attracting Industry, Jobs

City leaders also know it takes a highly skilled workforce to attract industry.

The city created a Workforce Training Consortium in the mid-’90s to provide skills training for industry. The consortium is a nonprofit group of local industry and education leaders formed to develop workforce training. In the last 15 years, Jonesboro has attracted seven major manufacturers to town, about one every other year.

In addition to new firms moving in, 13 major expansions at existing manufacturers have added roughly 1,200 jobs since 2000. Companies wouldn’t locate to Jonesboro or expand their local operations without faith in a qualified workforce.

Working With Schools

Not only is Jonesboro home to five excellent public school districts, but it’s home to the state’s second-largest institution of higher learning, Arkansas State University.

Being proactive, the WTC purchased state-of-the-art equipment for an advanced manufacturing program of study at ASU’s Technical College.

The study of advanced manufacturing is called mechatronics, and is a multidisciplinary field of engineering combining mechanics, electronics, control theory and computer scienc

Career Ready

Jonesboro is perhaps the most career-ready city in the state, evidenced by the more than 4,000 Career Readiness Certificates awarded as of last spring.

CRCs are “portable credentials” based on assessments demonstrating to employers that a job candidate possesses the basic skills required for jobs in the current marketplace.

Several Jonesboro manufacturers, including Nestle, Unilever, Nice-Pak and Post Foods, use the CRC program as an effective screening tool.

All these elements of the city’s downtown and workforce development strategies are expected to continue to pay dividends down the road.

 

 

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