Asa Hutchinson Announces Workforce Plan

LITTLE ROCK, AR (News release) - Republican candidate for Governor, Asa Hutchinson, released his plan today to improve the skills and training of Arkansas’s workers as a way to encourage job growth in the state. 

“My number one priority is economic growth and job creation in Arkansas. If we are serious about growing Arkansas’s economy, then we have to be serious about training our workforce. We have an opportunity to create a competitive edge in recruiting industry to Arkansas. We are competing for jobs in the global marketplace and the jobs will flow to those states with the skilled workers and with an educational system that matches the training to the technology of the workplace.” 

Hutchinson’s PREPARE plan relies on improved efficiency and consolidation of our state’s workforce training; the engagement of industry, educators and economic developers through “Workforce Education Councils”; and providing students with an additional career path that leads to a good paying skilled job. The Workforce Education Councils will engage employers, local high schools and vocational and technical colleges in the development of regional workforce education plans that reflect real opportunities in the workplace. The Workforce Education Councils will coordinate training students in high-demand careers and will be organized based on the state’s existing Planning and Development Districts. 

Hutchinson pledged to waste no time in moving forward with the plan, “As Governor, I will work with the legislature to pass legislation to create Workforce Education Councils across the state and to streamline the funding of our workforce education funds into training programs that work and produce results.  Furthermore, my administration will expect a specific plan from each of the Workforce Education Councils no later than six months after the date of their formation.”

Hutchinson continued, “The goal of this plan is to take advantage of the renewed focus in the United States on the return of manufacturing from overseas. Arkansas is in a perfect position to compete in the world market place for the thousands of manufacturing and technical jobs that will be created in the next decade. This plan will give our high school students more opportunities to choose a career path that may or may not include a four-year degree is part of that plan. A lot of economic growth comes from skilled jobs, where the training is beyond high school but it’s not a four-year-degree, either. We must provide a meaningful opportunity for a skilled job career path. I am confident it will ultimately lead our state to attracting major manufacturers to Arkansas because of what we offer in terms of work ethic and skill.”

Hutchinson noted that Arkansas has several programs designed to improve the skills of the state’s workforce but argued that there was too much overlap and not enough coordination between the state’s programs. Hutchinson concluded, “We need to be efficient and focused on providing Arkansans with the skills they need to build an economy that will be competitive worldwide.” 

Click here to review Hutchinson’s full policy proposal.

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