WHEREAS: Arkansans must have the skills to compete for employment in the current job market;
WHEREAS: In Arkansas, approximately six out of ten jobs require credentials beyond a high school diploma, however, less than half of the workforce in Arkansas is credentialed beyond a high school diploma;
WHEREAS: In Arkansas, fewer than fifty percent (50%) of high school graduates attend college or postsecondary training;
WHEREAS: Currently, there are six state agencies in Arkansas state government that provide or coordinate career and technical education and workforce development;
WHEREAS: It is the policy of this Administration to create a single entity to coordinate and to assist in career and technical education, which in turn, will ensure that young adults who are entering the workforce are prepared for high-wage, high-growth careers; and
WHEREAS: The Governor seeks to establish the Governor’s Workforce Cabinet and the Chief Workforce Officer.
NOW, THEREFORE, I, SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS, acting under the authority vested in me as the Governor of the State of Arkansas, do hereby order the following:
- There is hereby created the Governor’s Workforce Cabinet (the “Cabinet”), which shall advise the Governor on issues regarding workforce development and career education in Arkansas.
- There is hereby created the Governor’s Chief Workforce Officer (“CWO”), who shall be appointed by the Governor, and who shall serve at the pleasure of the Governor.
- The CWO shall coordinate, manage, and direct the Governor’s workforce development policies and career education strategy for the State of Arkansas.
- The CWO shall serve as chairman of the Cabinet.
- The CWO shall undertake additional duties as assigned by the Governor.
- The Governor shall appoint the members of the Cabinet all of whom shall serve at the pleasure of the Governor. The Cabinet shall be composed of:
- The Secretary of the Department of Commerce, or his designee;
- The Secretary of the Department of Corrections, or his designee;
- The Secretary of the Department of Education, or his designee;
- The Secretary of the Department of Human Services, or her designee;
- The Secretary of the Department of Labor and Licensing, or his designee; and
- The Secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs, or his designee.
- The Cabinet shall have the following duties:
- To collaborate under the direction of the CWO to manage, coordinate, and prioritize all workforce revenue streams and investments across state government;
- To engage with the CWO in managing, coordinating, and prioritizing workforce development and career education.
- To optimize Arkansas’ return on investment by:
- Reviewing the services and use of funds and resources under applicable state and federal programs to determine whether the state is maximizing desired outcomes for the state’s workforce;
- Advising the Governor on methods of coordinating the services and use of funds and resources consistent with the laws and regulations governing relevant state and federal programs.
- To advise the Governor on how to ensure a talent-driven education and workforce system by:
- Addressing current and future needs for Arkansas employers and individuals;
- Strengthening Arkansas’ operational efficiency by integrating state and federal resources;
- Simplifying the processes and removing unnecessary barriers for Arkansans to access workforce education and training; and
- Providing strategic alignment for state agencies and organizations driving workforce, education, and economic development.
- To prepare and recommend a data-driven strategic plan to accomplish the goals outlined in Paragraph 4 of this Executive Order, and to deliver this strategic plan to the Governor by October 1, 2023.
- To monitor, direct, implement, and evaluate the effectiveness of the strategic plan, leveraging high-quality state data and subject matter experts and providing regular updates to the Governor.
- At the direction of the Governor, to create working groups to assist in the strategic plan and mission of this Executive Order, which may be comprised of:
- Business and community leaders;
- Leaders in K-12 education, including but not limited to superintendents, school board members, principals, teachers, and parents;
- Leaders in postsecondary education;
- Experts in workforce and economic development; and
- Arkansas’ Chief Data Officer.
This Executive Order shall become effective upon its signing and shall remain in full force and effect until amended or rescinded by further executive orders.
IN TESTIMONY WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand and cause the Great Seal of the State of Arkansas to be affixed this 9th day of February, in the year of our Lord 2023.