DRA Chairman Chris Caldwell, Senator John Boozman Visit AR Northeastern College to Discuss Workforce

July 07, 2020

BLYTHEVILLE, AR – Delta Regional Authority (DRA) Federal Co-Chairman Christopher Caldwell and Senator John Boozman today visited with Arkansas Northeastern College (ANC) administration, faculty, students, and industry partners to discuss the Arkansas Delta Workforce Opportunity for Rural Communities (ADWORC).  

ADWORC was awarded a Workforce Opportunity for Rural Communities (WORC) grant from the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration (ETA) in partnership with the DRA.  The WORC initiative enables impacted communities to develop local and regional workforce development solutions aligned with existing economic development strategies and community partnerships to promote new, sustainable job opportunities and long-term economic vitality. 

“As the economy improves and jobs move into the Arkansas Delta, the demand for highly skilled labor continues to grow,” said DRA Federal Co-Chairman Chris Caldwell.  “The ADWORC initiative helps meet this demand by reskilling workers to fit these new industry-driven jobs, and I am proud to support this excellent program designed to get over 1,300 Delta residents back to work.”

“Initiatives like ADWORC have the potential to generate dramatic economic growth in the Delta. A highly skilled, well-trained labor force is key to attracting new well-paying jobs to a community and this effort is designed to create that economic environment. It will help grow our communities, improve quality of life and advance economic opportunities in the region,” Boozman said.

The ADWORC initiative represents a model to increase labor capacity by tapping a human resource to advance economic development and favorably impact poverty reduction in the process, as well as reskilling workers dislocated by labor market turbulence.  By preparing new entrants to the workforce, the ADWORC initiative will increase the labor participation rate, particularly residents from impoverished backgrounds and those formerly incarcerated, and dislocated workers for jobs in high-demand fields.  The project plans to train 1,310 residents from 14 counties in Arkansas, Missouri, and Tennessee.

Hosted by Dr. James Shemwell, Arkansas Northeastern College President, and Dr. Blanche Hunt, VP of Community Relations at Arkansas Northeastern College, the visit will include a discussion about workforce development in the Arkansas Delta with students and industry partners, including Doug Echols of Kagome Foods, Inc., George Harguess of DENSO-Arkansas, and Clifton Chitwood of the Greater River Economic Development Foundation.

About the Delta Regional Authority
The Delta Regional Authority (DRA) is a federal-state partnership created by Congress in 2000 to promote and encourage the economic development of the lower Mississippi River Delta region and Alabama Black Belt.  DRA invests in projects supporting transportation infrastructure, basic public infrastructure, workforce training, and business development.  DRA’s mission is to help create jobs, build communities, and improve the lives of those who reside in the 252 counties and parishes of the eight-state region.  Learn more at dra.gov.

Shawna Blair (DRA)
(202) 515-1354
sblair@dra.gov

Patrick Creamer (Boozman)
(202) 224-4843
patrick_creamer@boozman.senate.gov