Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders on Thursday announced an executive order creating a workforce cabinet and named Tyson Foods executive Mike Rogers as chief workforce officer.
The cabinet will advise Sanders on workforce development and career education in Arkansas, and review services and use of funds in government programs to determine whether the state is "maximizing desired outcomes for the state's workforce," the order says.
Other cabinet duties include:
- Strengthening Arkansas' operational efficiency by integrating state and federal resources
- Simplifying the processes and removing unnecessary barriers for Arkansans to access workforce education and training
- To prepare and recommend a data-driven strategic plan to accomplish these goals
Other members of the seven-person panel include the heads of he Departments of Commerce, Education, Human Services, Labor and Licensing, or their designees.
Sanders' order says that about 60% of jobs require some kind of higher education credentials, but about half of Arkansas' workforce only has a high school diploma.
"It’s time for our state to build a strong pipeline of skilled, qualified workers," Sanders said in a statement. "Mike’s expertise will be crucial to getting that done."
Rogers is the senior director of maintenance and refrigeration at Tyson. His team travels across the country to conduct training on industrial maintenance, refrigeration, and reliability engineering.
He has also has taught agriculture and industrial maintenance at Siloam Springs High School for 20 years and was the energy manager for the Siloam Springs School District for 16 years.
Rogers earned a bachelor's in agriculture from the University of Arkansas and later completed his master's in education. He holds six additional teaching licenses with the Arkansas Department of Education for secondary and post-secondary education.
"He has been on the ground floor of companies across our state, training young workers and developing technical education programs, making him the clear choice to lead our whole-of-government approach to this issue," Sanders said. "I look forward to working together as we roll out a host of new programs to unleash a new era of growth and prosperity in our state."