Arkansans who are interested in free online job training can apply to see if they are eligible through the Reimagine Arkansas Workforce Project at the U of A.

The Reimagine Arkansas Workforce Project is a federally funded grants program administered by the U of A and several partners. It is designed to help Arkansans advance their careers or start a new one, especially for those impacted by the economic impact of COVID-19. People who live in neighboring states and work in Arkansas can also apply.

Staff at the U of A Professional and Workforce Development, a division of the Global Campus, developed the program after the U.S. Department of Education awarded $13,579,455.83 in 2020 to the Workforce Development Council. Arkansas Workforce and Arkansas Division of Workforce Services to pay for online job training.

More than 420 people have applied for the free training and 270 are registered. Fifteen participants have completed their training programs and staff are assisting another 96 potential candidates with their paperwork. The goal is to have 2,000 participants enrolled by the end of the three-year grant period in September 2023.

The Global Campus, through Professional and Workforce Development, offers online training in 15 career areas through non-credit courses. Workforce Development Coordinators Michael McAllister and Erin Dickey said that even in the best of economic times, many people benefit from a career development path other than the traditional high school-to-college route. People all over the state can take these training programs as they are offered online.

“Workforce training offers individuals the opportunity to find fulfilling careers,” McAllister said. “Some of our candidates arrive before they have decided what they want to do. They can research and think about the career path to follow, the skills to build on.

The Global Campus team helps candidates choose the training they wish to follow. The Reimagine program is growing because of this expertise, as well as its ongoing work with state agencies and groups with clients who need to develop skills for today’s workforce. today, Dickey said.

“We partner with other organizations that provide workforce training for their clients,” she said. “A linear path as a student is not for everyone. For some this is not financially feasible, or they may already be working full time. They need training options.

Eligibility

Eligibility criteria as well as training options are available on the Reimagine Arkansas Workforce project website. Most training programs require six to 12 months.

Other grant recipients with Global Campus as part of the statewide coordinated workforce development effort, in addition to the state government, are Shorter College in North Little Rock and iDatafy LLC in Little Rock, a company that develops certified SmartResumes for training participants.

“We’re thrilled with the momentum of the program,” said Tara Dryer, Global Campus Senior Managing Director. “We’re starting to see some people complete the program now, and the news is spreading by word of mouth. There are so many different qualifying factors that we’ve found most people qualify in at least one way and that’s all they need. Reaching across the state, to areas of greatest need, is important to us, and Global Campus online training courses make that possible.

“Reimagine’s goal is to help people improve their life situation. If they are unemployed or underemployed and need to return to work, cost is often a significant barrier. We are removing that barrier,” she said.

Arkansas was one of only eight states in the nation to receive a grant from the 2020 Education Stabilization Fund: Reinventing Workforce Readiness.

About the University of Arkansas Global Campus and Professional and Workforce Development: The Global Campus provides expertise in the development and delivery of academic and training courses and offers instructional design, media production, and program planning and marketing assistance. U of A Professional and Workforce Development, a division of the Global Campus, is a hub for professional and workforce development programs and courses. For a full list of available services, visit the U of A Professional and Workforce Development website.

About the University of Arkansas: As Arkansas’ flagship institution, the U of A offers an internationally competitive education in more than 200 academic programs. Founded in 1871, the U of A contributes more than $2.2 billion to the Arkansas economy through teaching new knowledge and skills, entrepreneurship and employment development, discovery through research and creative activity while providing training in professional disciplines. The Carnegie Foundation ranks the U of A among the top 3% of colleges and universities in the United States with the highest level of research activity. US News and World Report ranks the U of A among the top public universities in the nation. Learn how the U of A is working to build a better world at Arkansas Research News.

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