Addressing the Skilled Labor Deficit in Arkansas

Addressing the Skilled Labor Deficit in Arkansas
Monday, 09 April 2018 10:25

AADA SkilledLaborDeficitArkansas is firmly in the top 20 US States with the lowest unemployment rate at just 3.7%. That’s a good thing. It’s good for the economy, for communities, and families. But when you’re an aviation or defense company wanting to hire skilled labor, employees can be hard to find. This has been an issue on the mind of the aviation industry in Arkansas for some time now. 

There are a number of resources in place that are aimed directly at training people with the specific skills needed in the aerospace industry – and they’re right here in Arkansas. 

The Arkansas Dept. of Career Education and Workforce Development is one of these resources. The board is composed of CEO’s from a variety of industries including AADA’s President Gina Radke as Vice Chair, who was interviewed for this article. The value of the programing and resources offered is high, and include:

  • Office of Skills Developmentprovides grants for training of the existing workforce within aviation and defense. If you attended the ISO/AS9100 training in September of last year, that was made possible through grants received from this office. Grants are available to single companies, groups of companies, as well as community colleges. 
  • Adult Educationincluding not only GED assistance, but also the WAGE program which helps employees become proficient in soft skills such as office software. 
  • Arkansas Rehabilitation Servicesprepares Arkansans with disabilities to work and lead productive independent lives. Assistance in providing special equipment for disabled employees may be available. ARS also assists with work placement and works with employers to train the skills needed.

Pulaski Technical College Business and Industry Centerhas the goal to “provide a high-quality workforce development program in response to the needs of central Arkansas business and industry. Training specialists are available to provide training and instruction in the areas of advanced manufacturing, automation, robotics, mechanical maintenance, industrial electricity, electronics, aircraft modification, programmable logic controllers, computer applications, management development, and supervision.” (

National Park College, Hot Springs offers a CNC Machining Technology program for CNC Operators and Programmers. (

Arkansas Department of Workforce Services does more than unemployment. They provide innovative training support opportunities for Arkansas employers in their efforts to offer training for prospective, new and incumbent workers. 

The resources above provide several highly valuable resources for the aviation industry in Arkansas. They also demonstrate that the work being done to improve work force training are yielding results.