The Arkansas Advanced Energy Foundation (AAEF) has officially launched a new apprenticeship program with a $2 million four-year grant from the Arkansas Department of Commerce Office of Skills Development (OSD). April Ambrose will be the program’s new Director of Workforce Development.
“We are excited that employers in the advanced energy industry will benefit from this partnership. “It helps us to do that,” said Cody Waits, director of the Office of Technology Development. “First developed at the Arkansas Data Science Center, the concept is perfect for him to replicate at AAEF as a best practice for supporting and working directly with industry professionals, without growing government. , creating a sector hiring and talent pipeline.”
While there is high demand for jobs dedicated to advanced energy and sustainability industries, a pool of skilled workers is still developing to meet needs. AAEF’s apprenticeship program, in partnership with the Arkansas Center for Data Science (ACDS), is designed to bridge the skills gap between employers in Arkansas and those in these professions. On-the-job training and apprenticeships are expensive, and as the industry’s workforce needs grow, not all companies can afford the necessary costs of training their workforce.
Ambrose began researching sustainability as an undergraduate at Hendricks College. She founded the Arkansas Her Earth Her Day Foundation in 2004 and has since been interested in developing a workforce for her green jobs in Arkansas. She also saw this need firsthand at Entegrity when she helped grow the company from two employees to her 130. Ambrose will work to coordinate with existing and potential her AAEA members interested in benefiting from the program.
“This program will allow us to ‘home-breed’ diverse and skill-focused candidates for Arkansas’ emerging sustainability and clean energy companies, while providing these workers with high-paying jobs with lasting education and certification. can provide quality careers,” said Ambrose.
After the grant was announced in October, the AAEF spent the next few months working with AAEA member Entegrity to establish its first apprenticeship.
“As a pilot employer for this program, Entegrity already provides this level of education to our employees and is delighted to be recognized and supported by the state in growing our business in this manner,” said Ambrose. said Mr.
The Registered Apprenticeship Program (RAP) is not new and already exists through the OSD, but the AAEF’s position as a sponsor is focused on sustainability and the advanced energy industry, and AAEA membership as an employer It is unique because it gives access to
AAEF Executive Director Lauren Waldrip said: “After months of facilitating this partnership, she appreciates the resources OSD has allocated to deliver solutions that add value to the industry and the state as a whole.”
The AAEF’s role as a sponsor is to effectively act as a ‘middleman’ by easing the burdens and barriers that individual companies may face in becoming a sponsor. The program also allows participating employers to access funding for training costs. The AAEF covers overhead and administrative costs, provides project management for the programme, and provides access to a highly motivated talent pool. This allows apprentice companies to focus their training in collaboration with many local participating training partners.