Arkansans Can Apply for Free Online Job Training Through U of A Programs

Arkansans who are interested in free online job training can apply to see if they qualify through the Reimagine Arkansas Workforce Project at the U of A.

The Reimagine Arkansas Workforce Project is a federally funded grant program administered by the U of A and several partners. It’s designed to help Arkansans advance their careers or start a new one, especially for people affected by the economic impact of COVID-19. People who live in neighboring states and work in Arkansas can also apply.

Staff of U of A Professional and Workforce Development, a division of the Global Campus, developed the program after the U.S. Department of Education in 2020 awarded $13,579,455.83 to the Arkansas Workforce Development Board and the Arkansas Division of Workforce Services to pay for online job training.

More than 420 people have applied for the free training, and 270 are enrolled. Fifteen participants have completed their training programs, and staff are helping another 96 prospective applicants with paperwork. The goal is to have 2,000 enrolled participants by the end of the three-year grant period in September 2023.

The Global Campus, through Professional and Workforce Development, offers online training in 15 career fields through noncredit courses. Michael McAllister and Erin Dickey, workforce development coordinators, said that even in the best of economic times many people benefit from a career-development path other than the traditional route from high school to college. People all over the state can pursue these training programs because they are offered online.

“Workforce training offers opportunities for individuals to find a fulfilling career,” McAllister said. “Some of our applicants come in before they have decided what they want to do. They may be doing research and thinking about what career path to follow, what skills to build upon.”

The Global Campus team helps applicants decide what training they want to do. The Reimagine program is gaining momentum because of that expertise, plus its ongoing work with agencies and groups in the state with clients who need to develop skills for today’s workforce, Dickey said.

“We partner with other organizations that are getting workforce training for their clients,” she said. “A linear path as a student is not a good fit for everybody. For some, it is not financially feasible, or they may be working full time already. They need options for training.”

Eligibility

Criteria for eligibility as well as training options can be found on the Reimagine Arkansas Workforce Project website. Most of the training programs require six to 12 months to complete.

Other grant recipients with Global Campus in the statewide coordinated workforce development effort, in addition to state government, are Shorter College in North Little Rock and iDatafy LLC in Little Rock, a company that develops certified SmartResumes for training participants.

“We are super excited with the program’s momentum,” said Tara Dryer, senior managing director at the Global Campus. “We are starting to see some people complete the program now, and news is spreading by word of mouth. There are so many different qualifying factors that we’ve found most people qualify in at least one way and that’s all they need. It’s important to us to reach out all over the state, into areas where the need is greatest, and Global Campus online training courses make that possible.

“The goal of Reimagine is to help people improve their life situation. If they are unemployed or underemployed and need to get back to work, often cost is a big barrier. We are removing that barrier,” she said.

Arkansas was one of only eight states in the nation to be awarded a 2020 Education Stabilization Fund: Reimagine Workforce Preparation grant.

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

About the University of Arkansas: As Arkansas' flagship institution, the U of A provides an internationally competitive education in more than 200 academic programs. Founded in 1871, the U of A contributes more than $2.2 billion to Arkansas’ economy through the teaching of new knowledge and skills, entrepreneurship and job development, discovery through research and creative activity while also providing training for professional disciplines. The Carnegie Foundation classifies the U of A among the top 3% of U.S. colleges and universities with the highest level of research activity. U.S. News & World Report ranks the U of A among the top public universities in the nation. See how the U of A works to build a better world at Arkansas Research News

Contacts

Tara Dryer, senior managing director
Global Campus
479-464-5024, tdryer@uark.edu

Erin Dickey, workforce development coordinator
Global Campus
479-464-5024, emorgan@uark.edu

Michael McAllister, workforce development coordinator
Global Campus
479-464-5024, mrmcalli@uark.edu

Heidi Wells, content strategist
Global Campus
479-575-7239, heidiw@uark.edu

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