The Arkansas General Assembly this year injected much-needed funding to expand business and industry training delivered by two-year colleges in the state.

The Arkansas General Assembly this year injected much-needed funding to expand business and industry training delivered by two-year colleges in the state.
Act 1244 of 2009 delivered $400,000 from the General Improvement Fund to aid the Workforce Training Consortium, an initiative of the Arkansas Association of Two-Year Colleges that provides customized training for businesses and industries. The 22 members of AATYC deliver the training.
Other than the general improvement funds provided by the legislature during the last few bienniums, the program has existed on varying federal grants.
"The money that the legislature gave us this year and in previous years has allowed us to provide the coordinated efforts of our two-year colleges to maximize the colleges’ resources to meet the training needs of business and industry," said Dr. Ed Franklin, executive director of AATYC.
Formed 12 years ago to identify and create business and industry training capabilities at two-year colleges, the consortium continues to grow and now serves more than 50,000 workers annually in more than 2,500 businesses, industries and community-based organizations throughout the state.
Before the initiative began, only three colleges offered customized business and industry training.  Arkansas's two-year colleges today employ more than 50 full-time trainers/coordinators and some 400 part-time, adjunct trainers in business and industry.  The WFTC has been nationally recognized for its innovative, collaborative success.
In response to ever-changing needs, the Training Consortium has established a nationally-recognized approach to forming regional, multi-college training alliances for specific industries.  Several consortiums have been established addressing different sectors of business.  One example would be the AATYC Aerospace Training Consortium, which provides training for refurbishing aircraft and works with aerospace and defense industries.
Through the Aerospace Training Consortium, Arkansans can be trained in the varied and expanding aerospace industry, in everything from power plant maintenance to avionics and custom fabrication.  Some of the associate degrees may transfer to Henderson State University, which offers four-year degree programs in the aviation field. This group also offers training in computer-assisted design preferred by the aviation industry.
One of the two-year colleges secured a U.S. Department of Labor aerospace training grant to serve major central Arkansas companies.  Eight other colleges will share a Department of Labor grant to provide eight new Federal Aviation Administration-certified instructors and specialists and add new equipment for employee training.
The Aerospace Training Consortium also works closely with the Arkansas Economic Development Commission's Aerospace Alliance Initiative.
For more information about the Arkansas Association of Two-Year Colleges WorkForce Training Consortium, please contact them at (501) 371-0404 or visit their website at