Program will provide trained workers for state’s food service industry

NEWPORT, AR – Northeast Arkansas workers and students will have a new opportunity for education in food services and hospitality, Delta Regional Authority Federal Co-Chairman Chris Masingill announced today. The DRA initiated a $97,771 investment to help Arkansas State University-Newport train local residents in food service management. The new Food and Hospitality Services program at the ASU-Newport Jonesboro campus will provide three courses of study:  one certificate of proficiency, one technical certificate, and an associate degree in food and hospitality services. The program will initially employ two administrative staff. DRA’s investment will support the purchase of equipment to include commercial kitchen appliances, tables and seating, cleaning and sanitation equipment, and necessary technology. By developing a trained workforce in the growing hospitality, food service, and tourism industries, the project seeks to accomplish Governor Mike Beebe’s goals of increasing the number of workers with post-secondary training so they are prepared to enter the workforce and equipped for new jobs in the future. The program also hopes to support the emergence of the tourism and culinary sectors in the region and increase awareness, availability, and use of delta grown or produced foods "We are committed to building a workforce to meet the needs and fill the jobs of our regional economy," Chairman Chris Masingill said. "This investment will train our residents in food service and help create future jobs for northeast Arkansas." “The hospitality, food service, and tourism industry is a major contributor to our state’s economy,” U.S. Senator Mark Pryor said. “I want to thank the Delta Regional Authority for investing in this growing sector and expanding job opportunities in northeast Arkansas.” “I am pleased to hear about the Delta Regional Authority’s grant announcement for ASU-Newport,” U.S. Congressman Rick Crawford said. “These funds will help train Northeast Arkansas students and workers to enter the important hospitality industry ready to hit the ground running. The Natural State is increasingly becoming a tourist destination, with visitors pumping money into local economies and creating even more jobs. With this grant, we will ensure the Arkansas workforce is prepared and ready to contribute to this valuable sector of growth for our state.” The Delta Regional Authority is a federal-state partnership that is congressionally mandated to help create jobs, build communities, and improve lives in the 252 counties and parishes of the Delta. In the past twelve project cycles, the Authority created or retained nearly 17,000 jobs, leveraged $2.5 billion in other public and private investment.