Weekly Column from the Arkansas House of Representatives 8-27-21

This week, the Arkansas Legislative Council Higher Education Subcommittee reviewed details of a new program designed to benefit Arkansans who have been economically impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Reimagine Arkansas Workforce Project provides funding for qualifying individuals to complete online training at no cost in order to meet workforce needs across the state.

The U.S. Department of Education awarded a grant worth over $13 million to the Arkansas Workforce Development Board and the Arkansas Division of Workforce Services to fund the Reimagine Arkansas Workforce Project. Project partners include state agencies, U of A Global Campus Professional and Workforce Development, Shorter College, and iDatafy LLC. The partners expect to serve 3,000 Arkansans.

Arkansans who are unemployed, underemployed, are new to the workforce and/or have no work history, are a member of an underrepresented population, receive public assistance, reside in rural areas, are a veteran, are the spouse of a veteran, are homeless, are 55 years of age or older, previously incarcerated, have been paroled, or are on probation are encouraged to apply.

Training programs include business, construction, health care, manufacturing, project management, technology, veterinary, and more.

Those working with the program can help participants identify career pathways that may be best for them. They can also assist with resume services and connect participants with potential employers.

This week, we also learned that the unemployment rate in Arkansas declined one-tenth of a percentage point, from 4.4 percent in June to 4.3 percent in July. The national unemployment rate is 5.4%. Job opportunities are abundant right now in our state. We hope the Reimagine Arkansas Workforce Program will help connect more Arkansans to a meaningful career.

If you are interested in learning more about the program, visit our website www.arkansashouse.org.

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