Employing a Superior Workforce in Little Rock

by Arkansas Business Staff  on Monday, Mar. 9, 2015 12:00 am  

Caterpillar Facility (Michael Pirnique)

The sustained strength of the Little Rock region's nationally recognized economy and its ability to weather national or global economic downturns is directly attributable to a regional approach to development and the diversity of its business community. In fact, Moody’s Investors Service has ranked Little Rock the nation’s second most diverse economy – less than a tenth of a point behind Chicago. “The Little Rock community has helped us establish a strong foundation along with a talented workforce at a facility which produces motor graders for the entire world,” said Caterpillar’s Paul Rivera. Little Rockers make things — smartly and efficiently. With targeted workforce development from the region’s community colleges and universities, aircraft interiors, road graders, windmill blades, steel pipes and processed food make advanced manufacturing one of the region’s top employers.

Little Rock is home to some of the biggest names in American business – yet everyone is on a first-name basis.

- Jim Karrh, Ph.D, Karrh & Associates


Caterpillar in its first year in the region, built over 1,000 motor graders which were sold throughout the world.

Beaudet Aviation announced a new facility to support Dassault Falcon Jet with aircraft cabin interiors, investing $2.5 million and and creating 75 new jobs. Expansion plans include new production center shops and, long-term, a hangar to accommodate wide-body planes up to B777.

Dassault Falcon Jet, the region’s top manufacturing employer and the French company’s largest facility in the world, broke ground on its $60 million, 250,000-SF expansion at the Bill and Hillary Clinton National Airport to accommodate the completions of its new 5X and 8X aircraft.

Sage V Foods produces frozen and instant rice from its state-of-the-art cooking and freezing plant at the Little Rock Port. 

Saint Gobain one of the world’s largest industrial companies, made the glass for Louis XIV’s Palace at Versailles makes ceramic proppants at its 100,000-SF facility on 68 acres in Saline County.

Welspun Tubular, LLC, based in India, manufactures steel pipes for the oil and gas industry from its twice-expanded, $280 million, 800-employee, 700-acre Little Rock Port location.

The Numbers

  • No. 2 highest manufacturing employment in the South (National Association of Manufacturers).
  • No. 2 lowest cost of doing business in the U.S. (CNBC’s Top States for Business 2014).
  • No. 4 strongest economy in the U.S. (Businessweek 2013).




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