Education & Learning: How Little Rock Gets Ahead

by Arkansas Business Staff  on Monday, Feb. 20, 2017 12:06 am  

Little Rock not only offers but promotes a lifetime of learning. From innovative, public pre-K for all to graduate-level offerings unique on the planet, the region values education and economic development as inseparable.

Leadership Greater Little Rock
In its 32nd year, Leadership Greater Little Rock has graduated over 1,250, including a secretary of state, president pro tempore of the senate, three university presidents, an adjutant general, three chamber chairmen, two mayors and hundreds of public, private and community leaders. Sessions have been hosted by hundreds of businesses, organizations and institutions across the region, including a succession of Arkansas Governors at the mansion — a tradition begun by a future President. Sessions have been led by a Who’s Who of leaders from the private and public sectors, including a former United States Secretary of State. Featured presentations are estimated over 2,300 during the past two-and-a-half decades. (Also see the most recent Leadership Greater Little Rock special report.)

AR Kids Read
AR Kids Read is a high-impact community service strategy which leverages the power of caring volunteers to help children attain reading level proficiency by the beginning of fourth grade. AR Kids Read is an advocate for early childhood reading education and continues to promote the positive impact that reading has on the economic development in Central Arkansas. AR Kids Read is part of the Arkansas Campaign for Grade-Level Reading, which states that the most important predictor of high school graduation and career success is the ability to read proficiently by the end of third grade. The goal of the Arkansas Campaign for Grade-Level Reading is to have all Arkansas children at this level by 2020.

Pre-K – 12 (Public)

Charter Schools

Pre K – 12 (Private)

Pre-K – 12 (Special needs)

Colleges & Universities

A wide variety of state, private and branches of national undergraduate colleges and universities offer associate and bachelor degree programs for the full- or part-time student as well as advanced degree programs to fit any schedule for the region’s professionals.

  • Arkansas Baptist College is a historically African-American college drawing national attention for its innovative offerings and historic growth, while transforming the lives of its students and the community in which they live and learn.
  • Central Baptist College is a four-year, private liberal arts college in Conway.
  • John Brown University is a private, interdenominational, Christian liberal arts college in Siloam Springs with a regional educational center in Little Rock.
  • Philander Smith College, under its “Think Justice” banner, this historically black college features the Bless the Mic series with guests like Cornel West, Michael Eric Dyson and Dr. Melissa Harris-Perry, boasts such distinguished alumni as Dr. Joycelyn Elders (former U.S. surgeon general), Hubert “Geese” Ausbie (legendary Harlem Globetrotter) and Dr. Robert Williams (father of black psychology).
  • Shorter College is a two-year, private, historically African-American liberal arts college located in North Little Rock.
  • UA Little Rock was ranked No. 26 in the nation’s best online graduate computer information technology programs by U.S. News and World Report, with 70 percent of the undergraduate students graduating with an internship, part-time or full-time job and 65 percent choosing to remain in the region.
  • University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff is a historically African-American university located in Pine Bluff. Founded in 1873, it is the second oldest public institution in the state.
  • University of Central Arkansas in Conway, initiated several recent construction projects including an extension to the Lewis Science Center, The Conway Corporation Center for Sciences, as well as the four-story, mixed use Donaghey Hall.

Graduate And Professional Schools

Little Rock is a magnetic force. I’ve encountered a steady stream of young people who grew up here, left at some point to establish or further careers in other cities, and then upon starting a family, made the decision to move back to Little Rock because they realized that this is the best possible place to raise children.

- Jeff Hathaway, Coldwell Banker Commercial Hathaway Group

Community Colleges

The Central Arkansas Consortium of Two-Year Colleges partners with the chamber and Metro Little Rock Alliance to foster economic development in the region by responding to the workforce needs of the region’s employers and sharing resources, curriculum and funding to further enhance the region’s competitiveness.

  • University of Arkansas - Pulaski Technical College has over 11,000 students, while its Culinary School has dual accreditations from the American Culinary Federation Education Foundation and the Accreditation Commission for Programs in Hospitality Administration and is one of only two schools in the nation (the other being in Napa Valley) with a wine accreditation through London Wine and Spirits Education Trust. 

Education is the key driver of positive change in a region. By listening to the needs of businesses and industries in Central Arkansas, we produce a competitive workforce with the skill sets required for 21st century jobs. Education also creates a dynamic, successful, vibrant region that improves the quality of life of all our citizens.

- Chancellor Dr. Andrew Rogerson, UA Little Rock



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