Thursday, April 27, 2017

ACT Work Ready Community Launch

Bethany Robbins, Potlatch
A full house gathered Tuesday, April 235, 2017 in the Green Room of the John F. Gibson University Center located on the campus of the University of Arkansas at Monticello to kick off the ACT Work Ready program for Southeast Arkansas.  The program is aimed at getting a workforce capable of learning and training for jobs, especially in the manufacturing sector, for employers to hire in the Southeast Arkansas area.  Industry and community leaders from all the counties comprising Southeast Arkansas have joined together to design and implement the program.  It is all about making sure students and others needing jobs have the capabilities to learn and companies hire those who take part in the program.

A welcome was given by Dr. Karla Hughes, Chancellor of UAM, followed by opening remarks by State Senator Eddie Cheatham, one of the sponsors of legislation to create the program, along with Senator Jane English.  Remarks were then made by Jon Laffoon , Superintendent of the Star City School District and Bethany Robbins, HR Manager for Potlatch Corporation, headquartered in Warren.  Mr. Laffoon talked about the program from the high school and educational perspective and Ms. Robbins from an employer's point of view.
Chris Masingill, State Senator Eddie Cheatham, and Governor Asa Hutchinson

Senator Cheatham then introduced Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson who talked about the importance of the program to the entire state and his desire to bring more jobs to Arkansas.  He praised the people of Southeast Arkansas for pursuing the program.

After the Governor's comments, Chris Masingill, Co-Chairman of the Delta Regional Authority gave an impassioned speech on the needs of the area and his appreciation for the work being done.  He indicated that workforce development is vital to the future of the region.

Bradley County has been instrumental in helping launch this endeavor and is committed to seeing it through.  Staff and students from the Southeast Arkansas Community Based Education Center attended the event.  SEACBEC is a strong proponent of the Work Ready project and is actively involved in its implementation.     

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