The Newport Economic Development Commission and ASU-Newport are partnering with the Arkansas Center for Data Sciences (ACDS) to bring a regional Information Technology training center to downtown Newport.

The training center will feature apprenticeship training programs for a wide range of Arkansas companies in the areas of Computer Coding and Software Development, Data Analysis, and Cyber Security. Apprentices who enter the program will be paid by their host company to gain the necessary training for a permanent IT position and there will be no cost to the apprentice for the training.

“The Arkansas Center for Data Sciences has so many resources and partnerships that they bring to the table,” stated Jon Chadwell, Director of Economic Development in Newport. “We are very fortunate to be part of a great team like this one.” The center will bring cutting edge IT training to northeast Arkansas, allowing local residents to gain the skills to obtain high paying jobs. “We hope to build a workforce that will convince Arkansas technology companies to view Newport as an option for their back-office services,” Chadwell added.

The Arkansas Center for Data Sciences is dedicated to growing the state’s IT economy by fostering collaboration, establishing critical partnerships, and developing talent in high-demand, high-growth areas such as software development, data analytics and cybersecurity. ACDS was created as a result of Governor Hutchinson’s Blue Ribbon Commission and has quickly established programs in central and northwest Arkansas. “We are excited to establish this partnership with the Newport Economic Development Commission and ASU-Newport,” said Bill Yoder, Executive Director of ACDS. “This opportunity will allow us to expand into northeast Arkansas and working with Newport will allow us to create a model for technology training in rural communities.” ACDS will be the managing partner of the center.

Arkansas State University-Newport will be joining the project as one of the apprenticeship training partners. By collaborating with the Arkansas Center for Data Sciences on industry specific training, ASU-Newport will expand their robust array of technical training programs. “ASU-Newport is proud to be a training partner with the Arkansas Center for Data Sciences for the new IT center in Newport,” said Dr. Sandra Massey, Chancellor. “The development of this center will help ASU-Newport further its mission of improving the quality of life of our community through education.”

The Emory Group has worked with the partners in this collaboration to develop a framework for the project. “Bringing high quality IT training to rural communities is one way to help grow and sustain small local economies,” said G.B. Cazes, owner of the Emory Group. “Working with the Arkansas Center for Data Sciences, ASU-Newport, and the Newport Economic Development Commission, we hope to create a model that can be replicated in rural communities not only in Arkansas, but throughout the United States.” The Emory Group will continue to work and advise the center and to create a best-practices model to be shared with other communities.

For those interested in an IT career, the center is currently accepting applications on for apprentices who are interested in a career as Data Analyst. This will be a paid full-time position based in Arkansas. The training program will consist of full-immersion training with classroom instruction and field experience. Due to current circumstances, the classroom training will be done remotely; when social distancing parameters are changed, however, much of the classroom training will be in-person at the new center. For more information, contact either the Arkansas Center for Data Sciences or the Newport Economic Development Commission.

The coalition is also seeking industry partners who would like to hire Arkansas talent for their IT jobs. Any business interested in partnering with the center to hire apprentices who would be trained to their industry-specific needs is welcome to enter into a training partnership with the Arkansas Center for Data Sciences. To get more information or to become an industry partner, contact either the Arkansas Center for Data Sciences or the Newport Economic Development Commission.

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