Filling the IT Skills Gap in NWA Goal of U of A Global Campus Initiative

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FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – The Arkansas Department of Higher Education awarded a $923,842 grant to the University of Arkansas Global Campus to expand its IT Readiness Initiative to help train workers and fill skills gaps identified by industry in Northwest Arkansas. This is the third grant the program has received since its start in 2015.

The grants allow the Global Campus to offer IT training at discounted rates for Arkansans. This helps area job-seekers and employees afford to gain new IT skills and provides employers with more job-ready candidates. Key industry partners – including RevUnit, J.B. Hunt Transport Services Inc. and Wal-mart Stores Inc. – have provided hands-on instruction for the IT Readiness Program.

“Our network of industry experts and educational partners have played a vital role in the continuation and growth of the IT Readiness Program,” said Tara Dryer, director of training, corporate development and academic outreach. “This third grant empowers the Global Campus to add new information technology training to our current program line-up.”

The Global Campus launched the IT Readiness Initiative with entry-level programs after receiving its first Regional Workforce Planning Grant of $48,954 in 2015. A second grant from the Department of Higher Education in 2016, for $851,062, enabled Global Campus to add advanced training workshops.

So far, more than 40 people have earned entry-level certificates, and another 22 are completing those certificate programs this summer. More than 70 people participated in “up-skill” workshops, including User Experience and Tech Leader to Tech Expert workshops.

The Global Campus is currently scheduling entry-level programs that offer certificates in back-end, front-end, Java and mobile development. The next application deadline is Aug. 10, with classes starting Aug. 20.

Online enrollment is also open for advanced workshops, including the Amazon Web Services Certification Program, starting July 17, and Introduction to Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence, starting July 31.

New programming under the new grant will be based on workforce needs and current skills gaps in Northwest Arkansas, as defined by IT Readiness partners from industry and educational institutions. Previously Dryer worked with local chambers of commerce, the Northwest Arkansas Council, local industry and educational institutions to build the groundwork and develop programming for this workforce initiative.

IT Readiness partners include Acxiom, CaseStack, Collective Bias, DataScout, Field Agent, Iberia Bank, J.B. Hunt, Lofty Labs, Metova Inc., NorthWest Arkansas Community College, Northwest Arkansas Council, Northwest Technical Institute, RevUnit, Rockfish, Rogers Public Schools, Saatchi & Saatchi X, Springdale Public Schools, Startup Junkie, Tata Consultancy Services, Walmart Stores, Inc. and Whyte Spyder.

“Their efforts and support provide the opportunity for us to deliver high-quality training that meets the workforce needs of Northwest Arkansas,” Dryer said.

Find other professional and workforce development programs, computer training classes, and customized training options on the Global Campus Rogers website.

About the Global Campus: The Global Campus supports U of A colleges and schools in the development and delivery of online, distance and workforce education programs and courses. It provides instructional design services, technology services and assistance with marketing, recruiting and strategic academic development.

About the University of Arkansas: The University of Arkansas provides an internationally competitive education for undergraduate and graduate students in more than 200 academic programs. The university contributes new knowledge, economic development, basic and applied research, and creative activity while also providing service to academic and professional disciplines. The Carnegie Foundation classifies the University of Arkansas among only 2 percent of universities in America that have the highest level of research activity. U.S. News & World Report ranks the University of Arkansas among its top American public research universities. Founded in 1871, the University of Arkansas comprises 10 colleges and schools and maintains a low student-to-faculty ratio that promotes personal attention and close mentoring.


Tara Dryer, Director of Training, Corporate Development and Academic Outreach
Global Campus

Mark Berkowick, Assistant Director of Workforce Readiness
Global Campus

Kay Murphy, director of communications
Global Campus


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