Monday, August 8, 2016

Career Ready Program

Gerald Burton, Janet Harton East Instructor, and Buddy McCaskill
Educators, business owners,industry representatives and other interested parties meet Monday August, 8th at the Southeast Arkansas Community Based Education Center on the Warren High
Bethany Burkart
School campus to listen to a presentation about the "Career Ready" program.  SEACBEC, the Warren School District and the Hermitage School District are partnering with the Bradley county Economic Development Corporation to make Bradley County a "Career Ready" community.  The guest speaker was Randy Zook, CEO of the Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce.   Also making comments were Jonalyn Reep, SEACBEC Director, Donna Lawhon, BCEDC Executive Director and State Senator Eddie Cheatham.  All talked about the need to educate a  trained technical workforce to fill jobs for existing industry and to help recruit new jobs to the area.  Under the "Career Ready" concept,
Randy Zook
students will receive certificates proving they are ready for specific skilled jobs.
Employers will sign up and agree to accept the certificates and consider the employees for available jobs.  A company is not required to hire anyone but will hope to find qualified candidates for employment.

Mr. Zook provided information that indicated there are currently 1.57 million jobs in Arkansas.  Over the next 10 years, it is estimated that another 148,000 jobs will be added and around 400,000 existing jobs will need new employees due to retirements.  This means if nothing changes, there will be a need for 548,000 manufacturing  and technical workers in Arkansas over the next 10 years.   This does not count new jobs that may be brought to the state.
Donna Lawhon

Called on to speak from the industry perspective was Bethany Burkart, Human Resources Manager for Potlatch Corporation.  She stressed Potlatch's support for the program and urged all employers in the Warren area to get involved.

After the formal presentations, those in attendance broke into advisory teams to be briefed by the SEACBEC instructors and to offer ideas and opinions on ways to improve the various programs.
The committees consisted of: adult education, business, counseling,
State Senator Eddie Cheatham
criminal justice, carpentry, computer engineering, east/AV tech, directing, medical, welding and internship.  During the committee meetings, students who have taken part in the "Career Ready" program spoke to the members about their experiences and successes.

The purpose of the initiative is to provide a more skilled workforce by utilizing the modules outlined in the ACT's National Career Ready Curriculum/Work Keys.  The idea is to train workers for good paying, available jobs now and in the future.  

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