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Gov. Hutchinson launches ‘Ready for Life’ education and jobs program

"LITTLE ROCK, Ark.- Governor Asa Hutchinson and other state leaders announced the launch of a new education and jobs program geared to connect Arkansas workers with new high-paying careers.

According to the governor’s office, Ready for Life is a new unified system of education opportunities, workforce development and data analysis.

Hutchinson said Ready for Life is important for education, workforce and employers.

Hutchinson committed $14.7 million from his discretionary fund to the project.

Discretionary funds were given to all governors under the CARES Act.

The governor said one of his long-term goals is for the state to be more efficient and connecting work skills and work certifications with employers.

The project also provides over $4.5 million to two-year institutions to expand workforce training opportunities in high-wage, high-demand careers for all Arkansans, according to state officials.

State officials say the project provides three primary resources to enhance education, workforce opportunities and data-driven decision making through a learning management system, statewide longitudinal data system and learner employer records.

Learner employer records show the credentials of the workforce to market to prospective employers.

Education Secretary Johnny Key says this brings together resources from multiple departments.

Key said the program gives adults who don’t pursue higher education a route to education and jobs as well as connects job seekers with industry.

According to Key, the program will connect Arkansans with education resources, workforce opportunities and data.

Key said he is confident the initiative will fill the gap between high school, college and a successful career.

Rick Neal, the Education to Employee Director for the Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce, said this initiative represents the state’s commitment to the future.

“Our future, both short term and long term, is about to change,” Neal said.

Commerce Secretary Mike Preston said the state is building a platform to be a leader in workforce development.

Amy Fecher, Secretary of the Department of Transformation and Shared Services, says this project is a huge transformation win for the state.

State Senator Jane English (R-District 34) said in her mind, workforce development and education is the most important thing to do for the state.

For more information on the new program, head to

Governor Hutchinson said web users will see the beginning of a robust website that will be a tool for the future."

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