Arkansas Education & Training
Arkansas worker training and education is vital to the Metro Little Rock workforce, and there are multiple resources available to businesses and employees in the form of state programs and local colleges.
Business and Industry Training Program (BITP)
The Arkansas Department of Economic Development (ADED) offers the Business and Industry Training Program, which provides pre-employment training for Arkansas workers to obtain the skills essential to the state's new and expanding business landscape. ADED's Customized Training Incentives Unit works with the department's Business Development Unit during the negotiation process. After a commitment to the state program is made, a Customized Training Incentives Coordinator meets with the business to develop a training plan.
Eligible Businesses include:
- Manufacturing firms
- National, corporate or regional headquarters
- Distribution centers
- Knowledge-based companies
The Business and Industry Training Program has thee emphases: recruiting workers, pre-employment Arkansas worker training, and on-the-job training.
The BITP provides financial assistance to recruit the workforce required for new and expanding businesses and industries in Arkansas. Workers are recruited in various ways, including newspaper ads and other mediums. The company-specific recruitment can include working with the local Employment Security Department (ESD) office, locating an application site and providing temporary help for the influx of applications.
Pre-employment Arkansas Worker Training
The ADED operates a successful pre-employment training program for new and expanding companies, customizing the number of hours and the content of the training to fit each company’s specific needs. Pre-employment training benefits both the trainees and the company by providing the trainees with a preview of the company and the job, and the company with an opportunity to view trainees before they are hired.
On-the-Job Arkansas Worker Training
If the company hires a trainee following pre-employment training, the ADED helps pay the instructional costs to train the new employee. Hours of instruction and the number of instructors depend on the types of jobs that require on-the-job training. Read the specifics below under the Existing Workforce Training Program.
Existing Workforce Training Program (EWTP)
The EWTP provides financial assistance to Arkansas businesses and eligible consortia of businesses that upgrade the skills of the existing workforce. Skills upgrade training consists of instruction conducted in a classroom environment at a work site, an educational institution or a neutral location, that provides an existing, full-time employee with the new skills necessary to enhance productivity, improve performance and/or retain employment.
Eligible businesses include:
- Manufacturers in the NAICS codes 31-33
- Computer firms that derive at least 75% of their revenue from sales outside of Arkansas and have no retail sales to the general public
- Firms primarily engaged in commercial, physical and biological research as defined by NAICS code 54710
Financial assistance is available in two forms. For eligible businesses that use a state-supported educational institution, the EWTP provides direct funding or income tax credits up to 50 percent of the cost of training paid to the school or up to $60 per instructional hour, whichever is less. Training Consortia receive the same rate of assistance, but only in the form of direct funding.
For businesses that use their own employees or company-paid consultants to deliver the classroom training to their employees, the EWTP offers an income tax credit of $15 per instructional hour. Training Consortia that use training providers other than state-supported educational institutions receive direct funding at the $15 per instructional hour rate.
The maximum combined direct funding and income tax credits for any one-company site cannot exceed $50,000 per calendar year.
To apply for EWTP financial assistance, companies and consortia must work with a Customized Training Coordinator from the Department of Economic Development or an Education Coordinator from a state-supported educational institution. These coordinators work with the company to outline training needs and complete and submit the application.
Workforce Alliance for Growth in the Economy (WAGE)
The Workforce Alliance for Growth in the Economy is composed of local alliances of adult educators and employers that work to identify the skills that are essential to the community's existing and future workforce. These skills are taught either through the local adult Arkansas education program or at the employer’s work site.
Tuition Reimbursement Tax Credit
Arkansas provides a 30% state income tax credit to eligible companies that reimburse employees for approved educational expenses. The employees must attend an accredited Arkansas post-secondary educational institution to be eligible.
The University of Arkansas at Little Rock is a dynamic metropolitan university with a growing student population. As an active and integral part of the community in the heart of Arkansas, UALR is able to put its students in close contact with the state's most influential leaders in government, business, industry, medicine and information technology. For more information, visit www.ualr.edu.
The University of Central Arkansas offers business and industry training as part of its Division of Academic Outreach and Extended Programs. To meet industry needs for Arkansas education and training in the changing marketplace, the division provides training opportunities through public offerings and customized on-site classes. For more information, visit www.uca.edu.
The Pulaski Tech Business and Industry Center provides tailored training, computer applications workshops, management development and supervisory training workshops. The center's goal is to provide a quality workforce development program to answer the needs of central Arkansas businesses and industries. A dean and staff of training specialists are available to provide training and instruction in mechanical maintenance, industrial electricity, avionics, electronics, aircraft modification, programmable logic controllers, computer applications, management development and supervision.
The Business and Industry Center features industrial labs, educational classrooms, computer labs, a distance-learning lab, conference rooms, and a large seminar room. Training space is available for rental at competitive rates. For more information, visit www.pulaskitech.edu.
UACCM recognizes that the business community’s training goals don't always fit into the traditional college structure. Through the UACCM Business and Industry Training Program, businesses can utilize the college's training expertise in a flexible manner. Arkansas education and training provided through this program is usually non-credit and can usually be tailored to suit a business's needs regarding time of day, location, and course content. For more information, visit www.uaccm.edu.
NPCC has provided local businesses with customized training services for many years. Its programs are designed to improve employee skills, enhance productivity and contribute to the community’s economic development. NPCC specializes in Management, Supervisory, Technical, Industrial and OSHA training. For more information, visit www.npcc.edu.
The mission of OTC as it relates to economic development is to be the key provider of services that transform the region's workforce. This mission is accomplished by implementation of the following principles: leadership, technology, teamwork, innovation, quality and customer orientation. Key elements of its vision include expanding its Arkansas education and training services to include workplace systems that assist and encourage long-term employee training; offering more technologically-advanced courses; providing database-related services, including the development of a technical reference computer library; and offering technology transfer assistance by applying technology in the workplace. For more information, visit www.otcweb.edu.
ASU-Searcy is constantly adapting to strengthen working relationships with businesses and industries in the area. ASU-Searcy began the ELITE Program in 1998 with industry needs as a basis. ELITE (Entry Level Industry Training Education) is an 8-week program designed to help unemployed and underemployed individuals obtain entry-level jobs with area companies. The curriculum consists of courses that business and industry representatives indicated were necessary for entry-level employment. For more information, visit www.asub.edu/searcy/.
Remington College is dedicated to helping Arkansans develop the technical and soft skills they need for success in a chosen industry. Remington prepares students for entry-level career positions by providing relevant, hands-on education and training. Local business leaders and employers are frequently consulted to ensure that the training provided is current and in demand. As an established Arkansas career college, Remington has a continuing commitment to success in Central Arkansas. For more information, visit www.remingtoncollege.edu/little-rock-arkansas-technical-colleges.
WorkForce Training Consortium/Arkansas Association of Two-Year Colleges (AATYC)
The WorkForce Training Consortium of the Arkansas Association of Two-Year Colleges strives to meet the specialized training needs of businesses and industries on a statewide basis through the collaboration of AATYC member institutions. Since the formation of the consortium in 1997-98, AATYC's member institutions have grown to serve thousands of businesses annually in Arkansas. The WorkForce Training Consortium and two-year colleges actively solicit input from the local business communities, major professional organizations and state agencies to identify current skills training needs, ideal methods of service response, and how best to prepare for the global economic challenges of the future.