The Arkansas Department of Workforce Services announced today, Sept. 16, that it will receive $4 million from the U.S. Department of Labor to fund the Arkansas Apprenticeship Pathway Initiative.
The initiative will expand apprenticeship programs in high-growth and high-tech industries including health care, information technology and advanced manufacturing.
“AAPI will help build a lasting infrastructure for apprenticeship opportunities in Arkansas,” ADWS Director Daryl Bassett said in a news release.
“This initiative will help us establish a system that effectively utilizes a network of businesses, training providers, service organizations and state agencies that will help both employers and job seekers succeed in today’s economy.”
Over the next five years, the initiative will allow ADWS to connect 600 Arkansans to high-quality apprenticeships that will provide participants with the knowledge and skills they need to attain good-paying jobs that are available now. Participants will also earn college credit upon completion of an apprenticeship program.
These earn-while-you-learn training opportunities will target dislocated, underemployed, unemployed and underrepresented individuals.
The agency has collaborated with businesses, like Baxter Healthcare Corporation and TrinityRail Maintenance Services in Jonesboro, in designing and developing the apprenticeships. So far, 20 businesses have committed to hire and train participants of the program.
Other partners include Arkansas Apprenticeship Coalition, Arkansas Community Colleges and Winrock International. The Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce, Arkansas Aerospace Alliance, Arkansas STEM Coalition and the Workforce Training Consortium have also pledged support.
ADWS is one of 46 grantees that will receive an American Apprenticeship Grant from the U.S. DOL.