Gov. Hutchinson Signs 3 Workforce Training Bills Into Law

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LITTLE ROCK, AR — The governor has signed three bills aimed at improving workforce training across the state.

“I was working a couple dead-end jobs,” explains Lawrence Aaron, a welding student at Pulaski Tech in Little Rock.

Aaron has just a few months left before he earns a certification. After he graduates, he’s virtually guaranteed a job making twice what he was before

It’s people like Aaron, Governor Asa Hutchinson says he wants to help by signing three bills into law.

“This is one of the crying needs of our state to drive economic development,” he said during a bill signing ceremony on Monday.

The bills are designed to increase the role of industry in shaping workforce training while creating partnerships between high schools, two year colleges and tech schools. The governor says money will flow to programs that work.

“We have to have those programs be state of the art,” said Pulaski Tech President Margaret Ellibee.

At Pulaski Tech., where funding levels have remained stagnant for nearly ten years, Ellibee says the biggest need is for new equipment.

The legislation does provide $15 million in one-time grants.

In the welding program, managers say they can’t get graduates out fast enough to fill all the available jobs.

Aaron believes expanding the program would provide a spark to the economy.

“If you’re building something, you’re going to need some welding somewhere,” he said.

The programs will be administered through the governor’s workforce cabinet which the governor himself will chair.

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