Arkansas Tech University to Receive $4.2M For Workforce Development

Arkansas Tech University to Receive $4.2M For Workforce Development
Arkansas Tech University logo. The university will oversee a pilot workforce development program funded with $4.2 million from Gov. Asa Hutchinson.

Arkansas Tech University announced late Friday that Gov. Asa Hutchinson is committing $4.2 million to a pilot workforce development program it will oversee.

The funding will allow the Arkansas Tech Institute to build a career coaching model for high school students, underemployed workers and employers in the Arkansas River Valley. The institute will also use the funding to partner with the Society for Human Resource Management on developing and implementing an employment ecosystem in the region that supports career opportunities for individuals who were previously incarcerated.

The institute is part of a collaborative effort between ATU, the city of Russellville, the Russellville Area Chamber of Commerce, the Russellville School District and regional industry partners to create the Arkansas River Valley Works initiative.

The institute’s mission is to create a non-credit educational and training entity that would utilize career coaching, prior learning assessment, work-based learning opportunities and micro credentials to connect adult learners, underemployed workers and unemployed individuals with career advancement and support economic development in the region. Its programming could incorporate the following disciplines: agriculture, business, computer science, emergency management, engineering, health care and technical skills.

In addition, the pilot program aligns with the Arkansas Department of Education Ready for Life program, introduced by the governor in January. Hutchinson said in a news release, "This is the first pilot of its kind, and hopefully, with the success that will come here, we can expand this initiative more."