by WJ on Jun 19, 2017 at 4:35 PM

The host of Speak Up Arkansas, Paul Kelly, recently highlighted the topic of workforce development as part of his regular broadcast on  KABF 88.3 FM, “The Voice of the People.” Speak Up Arkansas is underwritten by Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families. The talk radio show is dedicated to covering issues like health care, education, juvenile justice, the state budget, and family and economic security.

The Executive Director of the Little Rock Workforce Development Board, W. J. Monagle, participated in a panel discussion  with three other local workforce development leaders: Randy Zook, President and CEO of the Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce; Roger Rich, Superintendent of Southside Schools; and Cindy Varner, Vice President of Workforce Development with Goodwill of Arkansas.

Panel members discussed economic trends that affect workforce development, programs that address the needs of job seekers and employers, and community partnerships that drive success in vocational training and sustainable employment.

Economic Trends

Less than 40 years ago, nearly 75% of jobs in the United States could be filled by workers with no more than a high school education in industries like manufacturing, farming, mining, transportation, and construction. By 2022, the U. S. will lack 11 million workers with postsecondary degrees, certificates, or credentials to meet job demands. Arkansas has significant workforce development needs to assist adults over 25 with no college degree, especially as aging workers retire.

Program “Success Stories”

The Little Rock Workforce Development Board coordinates programs for adults, youth and dislocated workers through the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) as well grant-funded programs like YouthBuild, which helps at risk youth obtain a G. E. D. and vocation training. Southside Schools sponsors Project Future Story, which exposes students to career possibilities that match their interests from “pre-K through career.” Goodwill of Arkansas is launching a charter school for adults without a high school diploma in addition to regular career center offerings like resume writing and interview preparation.

Community Partnerships

Partnerships across local communities are required to help individuals overcome barriers to find and sustain employment. A viable network of employment and job-driven training programs includes roles for business, government, non-profits, and other community entities to promote economic sustainability.

To listen to the radio broadcast in its entirety, you may download the mp3 file by clicking here:  Speak Up Arkansas.mp3



by WJ on Feb 10, 2017 at 10:30 AM

The Little Rock YouthBuild program is underway for 2017!

If you’re interested in an exciting career- and life-building experience, come to the Arkansas Workforce Center at Little Rock during the week of February 6 or February 13 and check out Mental Toughness!

The Mental Toughness phase of the program is a key milestone in identifying youth who will become part of the first of two YouthBuild cohorts planned for this year. Mental Toughness activities include:

·        Introductions to career options from actual practitioners

·       Personal assessments

·       Trust and team-building exercises

·       Leadership styles

·       Physical exercise

YouthBuild is part of the Little Rock Workforce Development Board’s (LRWDB) ongoing efforts to help youth in acquiring a GED and industry recognized and accredited certifications in in-demand career pathways like:

·        Construction

·        Industrial equipment technology

·        Home caregiver

·        Certified nursing assistant

·        Commercial truck driving

For more information on the Little Rock YouthBuild program, please contact:

Melissa Mitchell

YouthBuild Program Director

Arkansas Workforce Center at Little Rock

5401 S. University Ave.
Little Rock, AR 72209

501.320.3057  Office

501.319.4592 Cell

501.537.0729 Fax





by WJ on Nov 4, 2016 at 10:47 AM

The Little Rock Workforce Development Board’s Executive Director, W. J. Monagle, is serving as host and point of contact for the U.S. State Department’s Professional Fellows program. The program is operated in Little Rock through a group called Global Ties Arkansas.

Mr. Seymur Valiyev from Azerbaijan is visiting Little Rock from October 18th through November  He is an up and coming young professional in the field of youth development. He has attended local meetings and participated in job shadowing activities with local youth development professionals. Mr. Valiyev currently serves as Chairperson to the Bridge to the Future Youth Public Union, a national NGO established in April 2000 by youth initiative. The organization assists in the active participation of Azerbaijan’s youth, establishment of a healthy civil society, and youth representation of Azerbaijan on an international level. You may view his full bio here: Seymur Valiyev Bio.pdf (141.41 kb).

Mr. Monagle and the LRWDB are pleased to have introduced our visiting Fellow to initiatives that organizations within the City of Little Rock and immediate region have made toward youth development. We also appreciate the opportunity to learn about youth development efforts in Azerbaijan and around the world through the experiences of individuals like Seymur Valiyev. Thank you to all who make the U.S. State Department’s Professional Fellows program a success!



by WJ on Oct 4, 2016 at 3:46 PM

On August 9, 2016 staff from the Little Rock Workforce Development Board (LRWDB) and Arbor E&T hosted 100 participants at a PROMISE Grant program celebration at Playtime Pizza. The event also served as an award ceremony to recognize the achievements of participants during summer work experiences. Of the 51 participants placed in employment, 31 completed all of the 200 allowable work hours, another 14 completed at least 100 hours, and six continue to work for local employers following their summer employment experience.

Presentation of the Diane Tucker Award – to Tatyuana Wilson – served as a highlight of the celebration. Tatyana brought her ambition and willingness to learn and grow to the Arkansas PROMISE work experience this past summer. Tatyuana, who worked this year at Metro Vocational Technical College, was an exemplary student and worker. She gained an in-depth knowledge of computer maintenance and repair through hands-on projects like building a laptop from scratch. She was on time every day and ready to work and learn. She impressed her worksite supervisor, Mr. David Crawford, so much that, as the summer drew to a close, he offered her a position at Metro Vo-Tech where he teaches. He believes that Tatyuana is passionate about computers and has a desire to be successful. Her passion not only set her apart from other PROMISE participants but provided a professional foundation that will last a lifetime.

The LRWDB began its partnership with the Arkansas PROMISE Grant consortium in January 2015 to operate a summer youth work experience program to run in concert with the Summer Youth Employment Program (SYEP).




by WJ on Sep 16, 2016 at 11:30 AM

On September 7, representatives from Detroit, Philadelphia, and Little Rock met at the new Tendaji Youth Center on the campus of St. Mark Baptist Church to share and learn about My Brother’s Keeper initiatives in urban areas across the United States. The My Brother’s Keeper Alliance is an initiative of President Obama to engage successful public and private policy programs aimed at lifting up boys and men of color. The local meeting was sponsored by the Boys & Men Opportunity Success Team (BMOST) Coalition, whose goal is to unite boys and men of color with meaningful adult relationships, mentoring and tutoring, positive role models, and service to the community.


City of Little Rock Mayor, Mark Stodola, participated in the panel with an aim toward developing public policies conducive to lifting up males of color, establishing vision and strategy for addressing this issue, and scaling programs up to meet the needs of this population. LRWDB Executive Director, W. J. Monagle, and YouthBuild Program Director, Melissa Mitchell, were in attendance to discuss the Little Rock YouthBuild program, which aligns with the My Brother’s Keeper job-driven training agenda. YouthBuild provides a "stepping stone" approach, promoting a seamless progression from education to work-based training and good paying jobs for young adults. The community-based nature of YouthBuild grants ensures that services are provided where they are needed most and are intended to reach the hardest to serve youth.


by WJ on Mar 21, 2016 at 7:53 PM

The LRWDB celebrates the Summer Youth Employment experience of Dorian Shavis and Cromwell Architecture and Engineering as part of the PROMISE project!

Dorian Shavis spent three days a week at Cromwell’s offices in Little Rock, learning about different aspects of the architecture industry and proper office etiquette. Cromwell gave him the opportunity to work with Habitat for Humanity and design a home that will be refurbished near his school. Dorian’s colleagues at the architectural firm also considered the summer experience to be a boost to office morale during a period of tight deadlines.

The PROMISE (Promoting Readiness of Minors in Supplemental Security Income) project relies on multiple partner agencies to operate. This past summer, the Arkansas PROMISE project paid for the work experiences of nearly 300 teenagers with disabilities, with a goal of matching the teens' interests to their jobs.

Click here to learn more about Dorian’s PROMISE experience: Video – Cromwell Architects – Little Rock, AR




by WJ on Jan 11, 2016 at 1:06 PM

The LRWDB is proud that Ms. Ana Rodriquez is a participant in the YouthBuild Little Rock program. She is currently working on her GED and plans to pursue one of the career paths offered through the YouthBuild experience.

Ana’s success is made possible by YouthBuild’s partnership with Immerse Arkansas, a non-profit partner that makes a place to belong for youth who are homeless or aging out of foster care.

Click here to hear Ana share her story of transformation over the past few years:

If you would like to help amazing young people like Ana, click here to make a donation or mail a check to Immerse Arkansas, PO Box 45385, LR, AR 72214.


by WJ on Dec 17, 2015 at 10:09 AM

The YouthBuild Little Rock Leadership Council planned and organized the First Annual Thanksgiving Food Drive at the Arkansas Workforce Center. The Food Drive ran from November 6 to November 24. Participants collected can goods and non-perishable items to donate to the local Watershed Human and Community Development Center.

This service project is the first of many community activities to be planned and spearheaded by YouthBuild participants!  Members of the Leadership Council designed the flyers and played integral roles in advertising for the project.  They spoke with representatives of the diverse agencies at the workforce center, posted the flyers to their personal social media accounts, distributed flyers, and even stopped strangers at the workforce center to publicize the project.

The YouthBuild staff continues to encourage and promote the importance of serving the community.  Participants took pride in seeing daily contributions to the donation box.  The YouthBuild family delivered the items, which were able to feed 15 families, to the Watershed on November 25.  Participants met a notable figure in the community, Reverend Hezekiah Stewart, and took a photo with him after presenting the donations. 

This project could not have been successful without the support of many contributions.  The YouthBuild family would like to thank everyone who assisted or contributed to the Thanksgiving Food Drive.  The event served as a memorable milestone for our participants and highlighted their ability be responsible, contributing members of society.


by WJ on Dec 16, 2015 at 12:44 PM

The YouthBuild Little Rock program and the WIOA Youth Program are collaborating to host a Career Readiness event for 16-24 year olds entitled:  “Welcome to the Real World” on December 29, 2015, from 9:00 am- 3:30 pm, at the Arkansas Workforce Center.

The event includes several informative and exciting topics and speakers:

  ·    A financial literacy workshop facilitated by local Centennial Bank representatives

  ·    A round-table discussion by Young Professionals under 30 regarding post-secondary


  ·    A panel discussion regarding alternative career pathways facilitated by Hollywood Jaid

       Taylor and Ally the Pub (on-air radio personalities for KIPR FM Power 92 Jams)

Lunch will be provided for those who call and reserve their seats.

Please click here to see the flyer for the event: YB CAREER READINESS.pdf (178.11 kb)

Remember, school will be out during this time, and the event serves as a great alternative to sitting at home! We hope to see you there!



by WJ on Dec 1, 2015 at 6:33 PM

Our partners from the PROMISE Grant recently kept themselves very busy by using the Little Rock Workforce Center to coordinate and deliver pies to eligible youth on three days leading up to Thanksgiving. As a result, the group made up of Connectors, Transition Specialists, and even the director Philip Adams himself, obtained 43 new enrollments in the Arkansas PROMISE program for the Little Rock area alone! Mathematica Policy Research, the national evaluator and provider of technical assistance for PROMISE research sites, suggested that similar strategies had worked in other parts of the country.

Pie Day (also known as Pie-nado) began as a way to increase PROMISE enrollment after a lull in July, August, and September 2015 followed steady growth since the program’s inception in September 2014. While a family did not have to enroll to receive a pie, Director Adams said “the pie provided a goodwill gesture to say “Happy Thanksgiving” and to open the conversation with a gift from PROMISE.”

Teams of two contacted eligible youth in zip codes 72204 and 72209 to provide PROMISE materials and a calling card with the pie delivery. Team members distributed many of the 315 pies ordered from Community Bakery before the holiday. They continue to make follow-up calls to those who weren’t at home during the three-day effort.

The LRWDB is pleased and proud to recognize these extra efforts taken by the PROMISE Grant personnel to start off the holidays a little bit better for everyone. The Pie Day recruitment event was an innovative new outreach approach for Arkansas PROMISE!