NWA Council: Workforce Development Most Important Need

KNWA/FOX 24 — The Northwest Arkansas region needs more skilled workers, according to an annual Northwest Arkansas Council survey.

The Employer Retention and Expansion (ER&E) survey identified workforce development as the area’s most important need right now. The report shows 54% of the 140 “prime” employers surveyed said they have difficulty filling some positions at their facilities. “Prime” employers include companies that produce and distribute goods and headquarters operations located in the region.

Moving forward, the council says it plans to work more with K-12 schools, the Northwest Technical Institute and Northwest Arkansas Community College.

“Getting more kids interested in working in the trades, there’s a lot of high paying jobs out there going unfilled right now and it’s really from a lack of interest in kids getting into those types of professions,” says Northwest Arkansas Council COO Mike Harvey.

The council says its regional three year plan prioritizes developing a “pipeline” of skilled workers, as well as attracting and keeping talent in Northwest Arkansas that meets employer needs for more specialized or tenured positions.

The council works with Northwest Arkansas chambers of commerce to complete the survey.

Other findings from the 487 ER&E surveys include:
– Employers plan to hire 1,541 new workers over the next three years.
– Employers plan to invest $112 million in expansions over the next three years.
– Public transportation and infrastructure were identified as weaknesses.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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