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Childers to Head Division of Workforce Services

Charisse Childers, Ph.D., has been named the next Director of the Division of Workforce Services (DWS).

Arkansas Economic Development Commission (AEDC) Executive Director Mike Preston has appointed Childers to the director position for the Division of Workforce Services (DWS), which will become part of the Department of Commerce on July 1. Preston was named the Secretary of Commerce yesterday by Gov. Asa Hutchinson and will assume his new role on July 1, as well.

“Charisse is the natural fit for this role,” Preston says. “A lifelong Arkansan, she also has 30 years of experience in education, business, government, non-profits, and economic development. I have had the pleasure of working with her on the Governor’s Workforce Cabinet for the past four years and know firsthand that she has what it takes to guide us through this next phase in our continuing mission to improve educational and economic opportunities for all Arkansans.”

Both the AEDC and DWS will fall within the Department of Commerce. In addition, the Division of Aeronautics, Arkansas Waterways Commission, Arkansas Wine Producers Council, Office of Skills Development, Development Finance Authority, Insurance Department, State Bank Department and Securities Department will be under the Department of Commerce’s umbrella.

This shift is one part of Hutchinson’s transformation of state government. Through the reorganization of the state government, Hutchinson has reduced the number of Cabinet-level agencies from 42 to 15.

“One of the goals of transformation was to bring together like agencies, and it makes sense to put together economic development and workforce services,” said Governor Asa Hutchinson. “Bringing in high-paying, skilled jobs and having a pipeline of ready workers will keep Arkansas prosperous. I feel confident with Secretary-Designate Preston and Director Childers leading the charge, we will be well-suited to compete for projects that will suit our communities and workforce now and for generations to come.”

Childers is currently the director of the Arkansas Department of Career Education, where she has served since January 2015. She was formerly the executive director of Accelerate Arkansas from 2006-2014.

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