Ready for Life

Gov. Asa Hutchinson listens as Secretary of Education Johnny Key discusses the state’s new Ready for Life initiative during a news conference on Wednesday.

Arkansans looking to improve or learn new skills while preparing to re-enter the workforce will now have a free statewide online program to do so, Gov. Asa Hutchinson announced Wednesday in a special news conference at the State Capitol.

Ready for Life, a collaboration between the state and the Department of Education, will provide a catalog of online courses, videos and podcasts that focus on improving workforce skills for adult Arkansans outside of the K-12 and college learning environments.

While clients can use the site to build their skills, employers can also use the site to connect with prospective applicants, as well as advertise their companies for clients. A mapping feature on the site will connect clients with employers in their area and provide a mobile job application process.

The initiative is funded through federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act funding that was earmarked for use at the governor’s discretion. Of the $30 million allocated to the governor, the initiative will cost just less than $15 million. About $4.5 million of the funding will go to two-year institutions in the state to expand workforce training opportunities.

Department of Education secretary Johnny Key said Ready for Life will allow clients to “upskill” and “reskill,” as well as fill the cracks in the state’s education system.

“I am confident the Ready for Life initiative will fill the gap many Arkansans face between high school, college and a successful career,” Key said.

To join the Ready for Life program, visit readyforlife.arkansas.gov.

Staff Writer Kolton Rutherford can be reached at krutherford@thecabin.net.

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