School districts are joining with business people and legislators in developing the workforce through high school regional centers.

Soft SkillsA bill intended to develop the Arkansas workforce is supporting regional workforce centers where high school students can earn industry certifications.

According to Gravette School District superintendent Richard Page, the legislation would clear the way for school districts to partner with colleges, technical institutes, cities and counties to creat workforce development center authorities. During the day, job training would be for high school students, and adults would take classes at night.

“By doing a regional effort, we can all do one program that serves all of us cheaper,” Page said. “We would have it in a central location that would provide opportunities for more kids.”

“We have a large portion of our student population that does not go on to get a four-year degree,” said Rep. Dan Douglas, R-Bentonville, who is sponsoring the billin the House.  “We have so many jobs in our economy that are going unfilled that are high-skilled, high-paid jobs that we’re not training for.”

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