​Arkansas State Chamber Of Commerce Unveils Second Generation “Be Pro Be Proud” Mobile Workshop

October 2019

LITTLE ROCK, AR… After the success of the Be Pro Be Proud workforce initiative launched in 2016, the Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce and the Associated Industries of Arkansas (ASCC/AIA) today announced an additional Be Pro Be Proud Mobile Workshop to begin touring immediately. Be Pro Be Proud encourages Arkansans to consider technical training and provides opportunities, including training and workshops, for students, job seekers, employers and more.

This second generation Be Pro Be Proud Mobile Workshop is the result of growing success from the original Mobile Workshop. The new 78-foot mobile unit will increase the number of stops and students served resulting in an even larger pipeline of prepared and energized talent choosing one of many high-value, high-wage professional, technical career opportunities available.

“Since launching Be Pro Be Proud in 2016, Arkansas has been leading the nation in supporting skilled trade and professions allowing us to better compete in the global marketplace,” said the Hon. Asa Hutchinson, Governor of Arkansas. “I encourage everyone to be a part of the Be Pro Be Proud movement. It shows that we are serious about educating parents and young people about these career paths that are essential to our state’s economic growth.”

The 2019-20 Mobile Workshop Tour, presented by Union Pacific Railroad’s Community Ties Giving Program, will travel the state and visit companies, schools and events to showcase skilled trade professions and continue to broaden awareness of their impact on our state’s workforce. The mobile unit is an engaging tool that provides information about training resources, available positions and descriptions, skills needed, and how to start the process of starting a skilled professional career.

“Every day, we present Arkansans with accurate information about technical careers. These audiences are hearing – maybe for the first time – that they can be tremendously successful by taking a path that doesn’t require a traditional college degree,” said Randy Zook, president and CEO of the Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce. “Many of Arkansas’s greatest business pioneers established themselves through one of these professions and we believe the next generation will as well.”

Utilities have been added to the second-generation workshop as a focus due to the technical needs and income potential for individuals who “light” our infrastructure grid – electricity and fiber, specifically. The 12 in-demand professions that continue to be represented include truck driver; diesel tech; locomotive engineer; welder; machinist; computer numerical control (CNC) operator; tool and die maker; computer programmer; computer-aided design and computer-aided manufacturing (CAD/CAM) drafter; heating, ventilation, air conditioning and refrigeration (HVACR) tech; plumber; electrician and carpenter.

Ritter Communications, Delta Regional Authority, Arkansas Department of Career Education, AGC Arkansas, Altec, Arkansas Trucking Association, Cooper Tires, Doggett Freightliner, Electric Cooperatives of Arkansas, Freightliner Trucks, Haas Automation Inc., Maxion Wheels, Nabholz Construction Services, Pace Industries, Pike Corporation, Technology & Maintenance Council (TMC), Tyson Foods, Inc. and Welsco, Inc. have voiced their support for the new mobile unit, and provided financial support.
“We take pride in helping communities thrive and are committed to ensuring residents are able to achieve family-supporting careers,” said Scott D. Moore, Senior Vice President – Corporate Relations and Chief Administrative Officer at Union Pacific. “It’s important for students, parents and teachers across Arkansas to understand the benefit technical education provides and the many career opportunities available. The Be Pro Be Proud simulator highlights skills needed to succeed in high-demand career at Union Pacific.”

To date, the original mobile unit has made more than 450 stops, in 250 cities across the state at middle schools, high schools, two-year colleges, fairs and festivals, rural community events, job fairs and businesses. More than 60,000 students have visited the trailer.

“The Be Pro Mobile Workshops offer a strong representation of what is needed to satisfy our state’s current demand and also reflect the talent needs to drive increased economic development into the future,” said Chris Caldwell, federal co-chairman of the Delta Regional Authority. “This initiative provides students, families, and community leaders in Arkansas’s Delta region with the information and inspiration to obtain technical skills and career training that meets the needs of businesses and industries to attract good-paying jobs to Delta Communities.”

“It’s important that we contribute to training and development for careers in the vocational field – whether it is truck drivers, diesel techs or other skilled operators. These careers offer a significant amount of opportunities and by raising the awareness and creating a positive conversation around those opportunities, we can attract new talent to these professions,” said Kary Schaefer, general manager, marketing and strategy for Daimler Trucks North America. “We’re pleased to partner with the Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce/Associated Industries of Arkansas and the other partners on its Be Pro Be Proud initiative.”

The state Chamber and its public and private partners launched Be Pro Be Proud in 2016 to address an expanding skills gap in professional trades across the state. Arkansas’s future will depend on changing the perception of these career options and efforts highlighting the many opportunities available within these sectors. Offering Arkansans this insight into the skilled professional workforce will continue to require a team approach that includes employers, schools, elected officials, students and parents who recognize skilled professions for the financial and rewarding career opportunities they are.

For more information visit, please visit BeProBeProud.org or call 501-372-2222.