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Advanced Energy Expo Set for Students, Industry Pros, Job Seekers and Educators

3 min read

A new advanced energy and careers exhibition, the emPOWER Arkansas Expo, will take place March 24 at the Saline County Career and Technical Campus in Benton.

The event, produced by the Arkansas Advanced Energy Foundation, the Arkansas Apprenticeship Alliance, the Arkansas Office of Skills Development and Greentech Renewables, will be more than a career fair, planners say. Professionals, job seekers and students will have a chance to see interactive  industry booths, career and educational presentations and live career coaching as well as participate in job interviews.

Students will learn about a growing industry long before embarking on their careers, Arkansas Advanced Energy Foundation Executive Director Lauren Waldrip said. The event will also keep industry leaders abreast of the latest technologies in the field.

“I am thrilled to witness the transformative impact this advanced energy industry and career event will have on the workforce landscape in Arkansas,” said April Ambrose, director of workforce development for the Arkansas Advanced Energy Foundation.

“By providing students and adults with firsthand exposure to this dynamic sector through immersive experiences, live hiring opportunities, and invaluable career coaching, we are not only building a strong and skilled workforce but also propelling our state to be a leader in this space,” Ambrose said in a news release.

The advanced energy industry focuses on technology and the benefits of energy efficiency programs, demand response controls; solar, wind, hydro and nuclear power; electric vehicles; alternative fuels; and smart grid developments.

Careers include fields that require specialized knowledge in the industry, including contractors, consultants, marketers, finance professionals and others.

“The emPOWER Arkansas Expo represents a pivotal moment for our state, showcasing the significant potential of the advanced energy sector to drive economic growth and job creation,” Waldrip said in a statement.

“Through this event, we’re not just highlighting the innovative technologies and long-term solutions that define our industry; we’re also spotlighting the advanced energy sector as a key engine for Arkansas’s economy, offering diverse and rewarding paths for our workforce,” Waldrip said. “By investing in this sector, we’re investing in the future prosperity of Arkansas, ensuring that our state remains at the forefront of the energy transition and continues to attract, develop, and retain top talent.”

The event is designed to attract students and job seekers of all ages and skill levels, offering hands-on experiences and an opportunity to interview for employment, apprenticeships and career counseling.

Advanced energy companies will get updates on technologies and workforce solutions, and will be able to interview prospective hires and talk about their workforce needs.

Educators and workforce partners will gain access to speaker and tour bureaus while learning about talent recruitment and job-seeker support services. They will also encounter credentialing and training opportunities.

Ryan McMenamy, inside sales manager for Greentech Renewables, expects the event to “catalyze growth” in the solar industry by bringing together stakeholders. “Installers will gain insights into cutting-edge technologies directly from manufacturers, while newcomers to the industry can network with seasoned professionals,” he said in the release. “This platform will spotlight Arkansas’ potential for enhanced energy independence, workforce expansion, and the substantial economic advantages it offers to the state.”

Confirmed sponsors include Seal Solar, Powers of Arkansas, and Forge Institute.

A sampling of booths includes Sol-Ark, SMA America, TRIO Educational Opportunity Center for Central Arkansas/UA Little Rock, and Goodwill Industries of Arkansas.

Attendance with lunch is free for students and $10 for others. 

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