A competitive business environment is not possible without a competent and interested workforce.

In Arkansas today, 49 percent of skilled-trade workers are 45 and older and nearly 18 percent are between the ages of 55 and 64. Compare that to the national statistics and Arkansas finds itself in a large boat with more than half of U.S. states in the same or worse shape. Additionally, 2 in 3 parents feel a career requiring a skilled trade is not for their child and fewer and fewer children are considering these career paths as a respectable option.

Today, this Skills Gap accounts for 600,000 high-wage earning jobs left unfilled across the U.S. and tens of thousands here at home. With each passing decade, this Gap will only widen. This dilemma hinders Arkansas’s growth potential, hurts Arkansas’s businesses, hurts Arkansas’s cities and towns and hurts Arkansas’s people.

It’s time that Arkansas fix Arkansas’s Skills Gap problem.