Arkansas Secretary of Commerce talks workforce shortage

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FORT SMITH, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — Arkansas Secretary of Commerce Mike Preston was in Fort Smith today for the first in-person Economic Development Commission Meeting since the pandemic began.

Preston says these meetings are important because it gives commissioners from all over the state a chance to solve problems together.

He says a major issue the state is facing right now is people not going back to work.

Preston says the workforce shortage plays a big part in the state’s decision to opt out of the federal unemployment checks this summer. “I think the funds from the federal government for unemployment, they served their purpose,” Preston said. “At some point you have to stop that and turn the corner and say we’re getting back to work as a state.”

Arkansans will still have a few more weeks of getting the weekly $300 checks until the program expires June 26, two months before the federal program expires nationwide.

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