Over the past two years, a new and exciting synergy has developed between the Arkansas Department of Economic Development and the companies of our state. The department is continuously working within the state to provide innovative solutions for existing companies. The results have been phenomenal.During the past year, the Arkansas Department of Economic Development has become the first state agency in the nation to establish and successfully operate a workforce recruiting website that encompasses the entire state. Using technology, we are able to communicate up-to-date job availability information across the country to all those who are interested in employment in Arkansas through the whatajob.com website. This site came about because the Economic Development team traveled the state, listening to the needs of established companies, communities, local officials, educational leaders Stylexa and local economic developers. Whatajob.com is an ideal example of a workforce solution that can be developed when we all work together.
Partnerships between the Department of Economic Development and other agencies inside state government also are boosting our economic development. The Departments of Education, Higher Education and Workforce Education are working with the Department of Economic Development and Arkansas companies to ensure that education in Arkansas makes our citizens workforce ready. Whether that means vocational training, altered secondary curriculums or new doctoral programs at state universities, these state agencies are combining forces to move ahead.
In the community development arena, we have developed a renewed partnership with ACE communities through our expanded program that allows Arkansas communities flexibility in participation so that their specific local economic development needs are met. Because of this expansion, we have 40 new communities participating in the Arkansas Community of Excellence program.
I’ve never felt more optimistic about our state than I do right now. With all of us working together we can, indeed, make great strides in economic development for Arkansas.
States are constantly competing for a share in the economic growth of the nation and the world. Few, if any, are as aggressive and innovative as Arkansas.
In 1955, Arkansas made a commitment to its economic future by establishing the state’s economic development agency. Today, the Department of Economic Development continues to foster an environment that leads to improved economic well-being and quality of life for all citizens of Arkansas.
In addition to the Department’s employees, the Arkansas Economic Development Commission, a board of Governor-appointed commissioners, is also committed to achieving this mission.
The Arkansas Department of Economic Development offers a variety of services to Arkansas’ private and public companies, as well as firms wanting to establish operations here.
State of Arkansas Domestic and International Offices
Arkansas Department of
Barbara I. Pardue, Director
One State Capitol Mall
Little Rock, Arkansas 72201
Tel: 1-800-ARKANSAS, (501) 682-1121
Fax: (501) 682-7394
State of Arkansas ASEAN Office
Boon Tan, DirectorD2-03-03 Pantai Hillpark
Phase 1, Jalan Pantai Dalam
59200 Kuala Lumpur
State of Arkansas Japan Office
Yukata Kajita, DirectorAIOS Hiroo Bldg. 8F
11-2, Hiroo 1-Chome, Shibuya-ku
State of Arkansas Europe Office
Sybille Magee, Director22-24 Rue St. Georges, Box 1
B 1050 Brussels
State of Arkansas Latin America Office
John Leonard, DirectorDurango 341-4
06700, Mexico, D.F.
A variety of support services are available to businesses locating in Arkansas.
Customized Training Incentives
The Arkansas Department of Economic Development’s Customized Training Incentives Team provides pre-employment training for new and expanding companies and financial assistance to existing manufacturing companies to develop a highly skilled workforce. A Resource Library containing a large selection of quality-related materials is also available.
Services are delivered through the following programs:
Business and Industry Training Program
This program provides start-up training for new and expanding businesses and industries that commit to creating new jobs in Arkansas and for existing companies that are implementing new technology.
The program will
Coordinate training with educational institutions.
Advertise for production trainees.
Pay for training trainers when appropriate.
Arrange off-site training facilities when needed.
Reimburse the company for training materials at cost.
Rent training equipment that is critical to the project.
Purchase support items for the classroom.
Existing Workforce Training Program
This program provides financial assistance to Arkansas companies for upgrading the skills of their existing workforce. Secondary objectives are to build the capacity within state-supported educational institutions to supply the on-going training needs of Arkansas business and industry.
EWTP is administered by a governing council that consists of a representative from three state departments: Higher Education, Workforce Education, and Economic Development.
EWTP reimbursements, which are calculated according to a set of scoring criteria, cannot exceed 50 percent of the allowable costs of an approved training program. The maximum funding for any one company site cannot exceed $50,000 per year.
To be considered for financial assistance under EWTP, a company must submit an application prior to the beginning of training, provide assurance that the participants involved in the proposed training program do possess the requisite literacy skills, and clearly tie the proposed training to specific business goals and performance objectives.
The Department of Economic Development’s Customized Training Coordinators, as well as Outreach Coordinators from state-supported educational institutions, can help design a company’s training program and prepare the EWTP financial assistance application.
Additional information regarding workforce training programs can be found on the Legislation page.
To help Arkansas businesses continuously improve their work processes, the Department of Economic Development maintains a resource library of quality-related books, videos, training aids, and games available free of charge. Books can be checked out for one month and videos and games for two weeks.
Materials in the library cover topics such as the following:
Statistical process control
Waste Reduction and Investment Recovery
Reducing waste, marketing secondary materials, and recovering value from unused assets is the focus of this program. Business needs are coordinated with the Arkansas Manufacturers Extension Network, the Industrial Assessment Center at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, the Arkansas Manufacturers Exchange, and other qualified service providers to give businesses the best combination of program coordination and direct technical assistance. The program’s goal is to help businesses reduce cost and become more competitive through waste reduction and secondary asset marketing or utilization. Targeted waste reduction is also encouraged to help lessen the burden of environmental regulations.
The MatchMaker program benefits the state’s manufacturers by introducing them to Arkansas companies that may be potential suppliers for their parts and processes. Lower base price, transportation costs, less required inventory, and the knowledge that they are purchasing high-quality Arkansas products are just a few reasons why businesses participate in this program.
MatchMaker is a “reverse” trade show where purchasing agents occupy booths in search of other Arkansas businesses that can provide parts or services currently being purchased out of state. Exhibitors are encouraged to provide businesses blueprints or part specifications for the items they display.
Trade and Export Development
Trade and export programs are available to help businesses expand and diversify their markets. Programs range from organizing trade shows, catalog shows and trade missions to hands-on assistance to help businesses identify and penetrate international markets and learn the mechanics of trade, including export, trade, and documentation. Four international offices (located in Europe, Latin America, Japan, and Southeast Asia) support this effort through research, meeting scheduling, and consultation for Arkansas businesses.
Structure of the Arkansas Department of Economic Development
Community and Business Development
Community & Business Development
Advocacy & Business Services
Customized Training Incentives
The Community and Business Development Team works with communities and existing industry to develop and support expansions of current operations, as well as recruit new capital investment. The Advocacy and Business Services Team within this group encourages the establishment, development and expansion of small and minority-owned businesses, among other things. The Customized Training Incentives Team works with businesses to help upgrade the skills of their workers to meet the needs of Arkansas fast-expanding economy.
For more information about these services, e-mail team leader Lori Harlan or call 1-800-ARKANSAS or 501-682-1121 locally.
Economic Development Research & Planning
Economic Development Planning
Economic Development Research
Management Information Systems
Energy Resources and Technology
The Economic Development Research and Planning Team analyzes data and trends in order to evaluate viable economic development initiatives. The Economic Development Planning sub-team uses research to develop legislative proposals and agency initiatives. The Economic Development Research Team develops and maintains statistical data on global, national and local trends in business, industry and employment. The Organizational Development Team is involved in designing any system, strategy or structure aimed at developing and supporting agency staff. The MIS Team manages and maintains the agency’s computer assets. The Energy Resources and Technology Team works with other agency teams to promote energy efficiency and introduce emerging energy technologies.
For more information about these services, e-mail team leader Jim Blakley or call 1-800-ARKANSAS or 501-682-1121 locally.
Marketing and Information Services
Film and Video Promotions
Internal & External Communications
This team promotes Arkansas and the state’s industries through advertising and public relations, promotional materials and special events. The team develops and produces various internal and external publications for print, Internet and various other media. The Film and Video Promotions Team promotes Arkansas as an ideal location for film production.
For more information about these services, e-mail team leader Linda Merritt or call 1-800-ARKANSAS or 501-682-1121 locally.
Budget and Business Finance
The Finance Team provides leadership in financial planning and budgeting and coordinates all financial activity necessary to provide value-added programs, products and services. The Budget and Business Finance Team coordinates the agency budget process and manages business incentives used by expanding and locating business. The Grants Management Team provides financial, technical and training assistance to Arkansas’ cities and counties through the Community Development Block Grant Program. The Administrative Services Team is responsible for internal department management functions, including personnel, purchasing and related fiscal matters.
For more information about these services, e-mail team leader Greg Wolfe or call 1-800-ARKANSAS or 501-682-1121 locally.