Free Pre-Apprenticeship Programs in IT Fields Open to Qualified Arkansans

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ROGERS, Ark. – Arkansans interested in starting a career in information technology can apply for free online pre-apprenticeship programs through a partnership between the University of Arkansas Professional and Workforce Development, Arkansas Division of Workforce Services, the Northwest Arkansas Economic Development District, the Arkansas Center for Data Science, and the Northwest Arkansas Council.

The online pre-apprenticeship programs will serve as a pathway for participants to expand their knowledge of technology and potentially move into full apprenticeship programs.

“Pre-apprenticeship programs are designed to give individuals the skills and confidence they need to be successful in various jobs and industries,” said Tara Dryer, director of training, corporate development and academic outreach at U of A Professional and Workforce Development.

The apprenticeship programs, launched in fall 2019, provide participants the opportunity to expand their careers and knowledge in the technology sector through an “earn and learn” model that includes employer-provided, on-the-job training, classroom instruction and mentorship. Apprentices who complete the program receive a portable, nationally recognized credential. 

“This joint effort between state agencies, regional employers and education providers allows Northwest Arkansas employers to hire entry-level talent who can build a career while at the same time getting valuable training,” said Joe Rollins, workforce development director at the Northwest Arkansas Council. “Those who complete the program quickly become a strong asset to the Northwest Arkansas workforce and economy.”

More than 20 pre-apprenticeship course offerings include programs in web and software development, operating systems, networking and security. For a complete list, please visit All courses are available online, and participants often have the option to select from either a 6-week instructor-led course or a 3-month self-paced course.

The pre-apprentice program is open to Arkansas residents 18 years of age or older who hold a high school diploma or GED, are eligible to work in the United States, and registered with Selective Service, if applicable. Applicants must have a valid driver’s license or state-issued identification card, a Social Security card, and a Selective Service Registration Card, if applicable.

For information about how to apply, please visit the U of A training website or contact an Arkansas Workforce Center in Fayetteville or Rogers.

Upon successful completion of a pre-apprenticeship program, participants are encouraged to apply for a U.S. Department of Labor Registered Apprenticeship Program offered by the Arkansas Center for Data Sciences with curriculum provided by University of Arkansas Professional and Workforce Development.

Find out more about how the University of Arkansas is Determined to Help those impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. 

About University of Arkansas Professional and Workforce Development: University of Arkansas Professional and Workforce Development, a division of the Global Campus, is a hub for professional and workforce development programs. The Global Campus provides expertise in developing and delivering both academic and training courses and provides instructional design services, media production and assistance with program planning and marketing.

About the Arkansas Division of Workforce Services (ADWS): The focus of the Arkansas Division of Workforce Services is to provide individuals the tools they need to enhance and sustain their employability. And, through the education and skills training offered to jobseekers, employers are reducing hidden costs associated with lost production time and turnover rates by hiring qualified workers.

About Northwest Arkansas Economic Development District (NWAEDD): NWAEDD is the local provider for WIOA Title 1-B programs. Within this program, we are able to provide employment and training services for eligible adults, dislocated workers and youth. The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) is designed to help job seekers access employment, education, training and support services to succeed in the labor market and to match employers with the skilled workers they need to compete in the global economy; every year the key programs that form the pillars of WIOA help tens of millions of job seekers and workers nationwide to connect to good jobs and acquire the skills and credentials needed to obtain them.

About the Arkansas Center for Data Science (ACDS): ACDS is a non-profit dedicated to building, developing and retaining top Data Science and IT talent in the state of Arkansas through an ongoing public-private partnership. Our vision is for Arkansas to become a global leader in the transformation of existing industries through the application of data analytics and related computing capabilities involving the integration of technical and business skills, advancement of talent pipelines and ongoing upgrades to relevant workforce skills.   

About the Northwest Arkansas Council: Established in 1990 by Sam Walton and 30 other business leaders, the Northwest Arkansas Council is a private, nonprofit organization working to advance job opportunities, talent recruitment, physical infrastructure and quality of life in the region. Most of the Council’s more than 100 members are companies, including Walmart, Tyson Foods, J.B. Hunt Transport Services, Simmons Foods and George's, Inc. Learn more at


Tara Dryer, director of training, corporate development and academic outreach
U of A Professional and Workforce Development

James Moss, operations manager
Northwest Arkansas Economic Development District


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