The availability of skilled talent (and ability to attract more) is the top factor for businesses today as they determine where to invest. We know developing talent starts early and involves collaboration with parents, educators, businesses, and community and state leaders.
The Northwest Arkansas Council ensures that there are sufficient education and training opportunities available to support our workforce. Businesses across our region seek talent with a wide range of skills and, in some cases, require their current workforce to acquire new expertise.
The key objective of our workforce development efforts is to transform the region’s workforce system into a best-of-class, demand-driven workforce model to increase the supply of appropriately skilled labor.
We compile state-of-the-art analytics and secondary and primary data to align education and training programs with employer demand.
We support regional efforts to expand early childhood development opportunities to Northwest Arkansas residents of all socioeconomic backgrounds.
We work with local school districts to provide every learner with rigorous, uniform career coaching opportunities in years 10, 11 and 12. We also support and develop local schools’ efforts to market new programs to students, parents and educators to increase enrollments, completions and certifications.
Secondary Training and Post-Secondary Training
We work to increase the capacity of secondary training programs. We support efforts to expand and transform existing programs, such as the Northwest Technical Institute, into world-class training institutions to increase enrollments and produce more graduates. The Council also supports partners with non-credit workforce training at Business & Industry Training, NorthWest Arkansas Community College and the University of Arkansas Global Campus.
The Council identifies and connects industry partners with education and training programs to support curriculum development, create awareness and provide work-based learning opportunities.
IT Workforce Development
We’re building a diverse network of IT workforce development efforts to assist employers in the region in filling IT jobs. The Council identified the primary IT needs of regional employers to be software development, cybersecurity, data science/analyst and general IT.
Through our efforts, numerous training providers have launched programs to address regional IT workforce needs with the following training partners:
University of Arkansas Global Campus
Arkansas Coding Academy
In addition, we formed a strategic partnership with the Arkansas Center for Data Sciences to advance IT apprenticeships in the region and recently launched a pre-apprenticeship program.