MDC Inc. Program Director Dan Broun today visited the Clinton School for Public Service in Little Rock, Ark., where he presented findings from MDC’s latest report, Where the Jobs Are: Opportunities and Challenges in Arkansas Employment, in conjunction with the Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation’s #ExpectMoreAR campaign.
The campaign highlights a path forward for Arkansas to answer the question: How can we make sure tomorrow’s jobs are better than today’s?
The Foundation, informed by the report prepared by Broun and his team at MDC, is to flip the 70/30 equation. Jobs are in Arkansas now, and more than half a million are coming in the next 10 years. However, nearly 70 percent of current jobs are low-skill jobs, most of which do not pay family-supporting wages. Only 30 percent require a postsecondary credential. If nothing changes, ten years from now, nearly 70 percent of Arkansas jobs will continue to be low-skill jobs. To change the 70/30 equation, Arkansas must produce, attract, and retain higher-skill workers.
Where the Jobs Are was produced by MDC for the Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation, which commissioned this report to uncover the reasons unemployed Arkansans struggle to find jobs and employers struggle to find qualified employees. The report reveals intersecting challenges that include a shortage of Arkansans with postsecondary degrees and certificates, a lack of jobs paying family-supporting wages, and shifts in regional industrial trends.
Broun’s trip to Arkansas also included stops in Morrillton, Ark., where he met with community leaders to discuss the principles of an effective workforce development system, a visit to the Batesville Chamber of Commerce (see below photo), and attending student presentations in Independence County focused on “Future Stories.”