Employing a Superior Workforce in Little Rock

by Arkansas Business Staff  on Monday, Feb. 20, 2017 12:10 am  

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.

“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.

With its central location, skilled workforce and strong sense of community, Little Rock is the ideal environment for any high-level, high-volume business. That’s why a myriad of global industries, including our private equity, commercial real estate and automotive businesses, are proud to call Little Rock home.

- Frankin McLarty, co-founder and co-president McLarty Capital Partners


Caterpillar which opened its North Little Rock plant in 2010, manufactures eight motor grader models, producing over 1,000 in its first year to be sold throughout the world.

Dassault Falcon Jet Corp, the region’s top manufacturing employer and the French company’s largest facility in the world, continues to grow to accommodate the completions of its new 5X and 8X aircraft, investing in a $2.3 million expansion in 2015

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 and 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, 700-acre Little Rock Port location.

The Numbers

  • No. 2 highest manufacturing employment in the South (National Association of Manufacturers 2016).
  • No. 2 lowest cost of doing business in the U.S. (CNBC’s Top States for Business 2014).
  • No. 9 “Best Value” city (Trivago.com 2017).

Aircraft and aircraft-related parts and services are Arkansas’ second-largest export. There are approximately 100 airports in the state, which ranks ninth in terms of operating costs on the United States aerospace manufacturing attractiveness index.


BASS – JM Associates develops content for ESPNOutdoors.com and produces multiple television series and specials, including ESPN’s Bassmaster Classic. 

P. Allen Smith is an award-winning designer, gardening and lifestyle expert. He is the host of two public television programs and a syndicated, 30-minute show. Smith is one of America’s most recognized and respected design experts, providing ideas and inspiration through multiple media venues. He is the author of the best-selling “Garden Home” series of books published by Clarkson Potter/Penguin Random House. Smith is a regular contributor on the The Weather Channel and hosts his own radio program the “P. Allen Smith Show.” His design and lifestyle advice is featured in several national magazines.


HPE/Insight. Insight Enterprises announced the hiring of 175 Hewlett Packard Enterprise employees at the Meadows Office and Technology Park in Conway.

ACXIOM, a publicly traded company (Nasdaq: ACXM), is the developer of some of the largest and most sophisticated business intelligence and marketing databases in the world.

Little Rock Technology Park Authority provides quality job opportunities and economic development in Central Arkansas. The seven members of the authority represent the initiative of the Little Rock Regional Chamber, City of Little Rock, UA Little Rock and University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences. The region’s first technology park is a catalyst for tech talent to succeed and advance and will to be a major economic driver for the next 30 years.

UAMS Bioventures, with commercial successes such as Safe Foods, Omnibalm and eDoc America, translates University of Arkansas for Medical Science research into products that benefit human health.

UA Little Rock Donaghey College of Engineering & Information Technology, founded by internationally renowned scientist Dr. Mary L. Good and led by dean Dr. Lawrence Whitman. EIT, as it’s known, is also home to eight, cutting-edge graduate programs including doctoral degrees, masters of science degrees and graduate certificates — all focused on strategic areas of commerce and research directly relevant to 21st Century success.


Strong national and Arkansas-chartered financial institutions and public finance spur the region’s economic development.

Credit Unions


Partnering of the public and private sectors among all levels of government has put the region at a competitive advantage with its unified, team-oriented approach to economic development.

Little Rock, for the first time in its history, funded performance-based incentives over the next ten years to complement business.

North Little Rock, along with its creative and vibrant Argenta downtown redevelopment, boasts The Old Mill at T. R. Pugh Memorial Park, believed to be the last surviving structure seen in “Gone With the Wind,” and the Arkansas Inland Maritime Museum’s USS Razorback SS 394, the longest serving and one of the most decorated submarines in the world. 


Pulaski County is the largest county in the state by population, with 382,748 at the time of the 2010 U.S. Census, with Little Rock serving as both the county seat and state capital.


Arkansas, is among a small number of states that has maintained a balanced budget and it views economic development and education as inseparable.


METROPLAN has responsibility for the area’s transportation planning process under federal law.


Richard Sheppard Arnold United States Courthouse is the courthouse for the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas. Completed in 1932, it was renamed in 2003 for Court of Appeals Judge Richard S. Arnold.


Mexican Consulate – Consulado de Carrera de México, serving Arkansas, Western Tennessee and Eastern Oklahoma, is the only one of its kind between Dallas and Atlanta.


  • Arkansas Children’s Hospital is one of the leading children’s hospitals in the world.
  • Arkansas Heart Hospital is one of only four specialty hospitals nationwide to receive NRC Picker Path to Excellence top five rankings in two of three categories — Overall Patient Experience and Nurse Communication.
  • Baptist Health, with more than 175 points of access — including seven Arkansas hospitals, rehabilitation facilities, family clinics, therapy and wellness centers, has delivered quality health care for over 80 years.
  • CHI St. Vincent, Little Rock’s first hospital and part of the Catholic Health Initiatives, features a number of points of access throughout central Arkansas, including the world-renowned Longevity Center and St. Vincent West.
  • Methodist Family Health provides comprehensive psychiatric and behavioral healthcare to Arkansas children and their families.
  • North Metro Medical Center has for over 50 years been a local hospital providing quality, acute care services with the care and compassion its patients deserve.
  • Pinnacle Pointe Beahavioral Healthcare System provides a full continuum of behavioral health care services specializing in mental health treatment for children and adolescents.
  • Rivendell of Arkansas has, since 1985, been committed to providing the best psychiatric and behavioral health care, with the goal of supporting the whole family.
  • University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, the state’s only academic medical center, treats more multiple myeloma cancer patients than any facility in the world.


With an annual economic impact of more than $830 million, the region boasts the world’s premier C-130 Air Force base and an Arkansas National Guard facility providing facilities and weapons ranges for all branches of the U.S. armed forces and civil law enforcement agencies.

  • Little Rock Air Force Base, winner of the Abilene Trophy for Outstanding Community Support for an Air Mobility Command Base, consists of more than 6,000 acres and more than 5,000 active-duty military and civilian members, with 5,500 family members living and working on and around the base.
  • Camp Joseph T. Robinson, on 32,800 acres, is the home of the country’s premier professional development training center and the 189th, the highest decorated Air National Guard Airlift Wing in the nation’s history.


With the world’s only master’s degree in public service, strong foreign direct capital investment, and institutions like Arkansas Children’s Hospital and the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences bringing in world-class talent, Little Rock has become a hub for the location of global nonprofit headquarters.

  • William J. Clinton Foundation, building on President Clinton’s lifetime of public service, established separate initiatives to alleviate poverty, improve global health, strengthen economies and protect the environment.
  • Heifer International, from its LEED Platinum world headquarters and restored wetlands, has as its strategy to “pass on the gift” so people will share their animals’ offspring with others — along with their knowledge, resources and skills — in an expanding network of hope, dignity and self-reliance that reaches around the globe.
  • Winrock International, from its LEED Gold headquarters, links individuals and communities with new ideas and technology to increase long-term productivity, equity and responsible resource management to benefit the poor and disadvantaged of the world.



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