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The Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce Foundation and partners are hosting a statewide workforce summit in Little Rock on September 23, 2014 from 9:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. in the Governor’s Hall at the Statehouse Convention Center.

 Appropriately described “Jobs NOW: Arkansas Works When We Do,” the Foundation hopes to capitalize onprevious meetings and events with manufacturing company Human Resource Managers, General Managers, Governor Mike Beebe and members of the Governor’s Workforce Cabinet.  The Summit is strategically scheduled to take place less than 60 days prior to the November 2014 General Election as the issue of improving Arkansas’s workforce is a priority for most businesses across Arkansas, regardless of business sector or company size.  This issue demands the attention of all of Arkansas’s candidates for elected office. 

 The Jobs NOW Summit will occur in advance of a major marketing campaign led by the State Chamber Foundation set to debut in mid-November.  The meeting agenda will be arranged to highlight major issues businesses in Arkansas are facing when trying to attract a competent and interested workforce, as well as successes and solutions achieved.  The program will focus on 4 business sectors: (1) Manufacturing; (2) Agriculture; (3) Trucking; and (4) Construction and nationally recognized businesses leaders from each sector are confirmed to participate in the program.


Invitations have been sent to the Arkansas State Chamber’s members and partners, as well as the Governor and his Workforce Cabinet members, the Arkansas Legislature, Leadership and Educators from all Higher Education Institutions, Superintendents, Principals, Teachers, and Counselors in the K-12 Education System, Arkansas PTA members, and others.  We anticipate and are preparing for a crowd of over 1,000 attendees.

 Below is a sketch of the Jobs Now Summit agenda:

 Opening Comments from Governor Mike Beebe, Governor of Arkansas

Keynote presentation:  Jennifer McNelly, President of The Manufacturing Institute.  The Manufacturing Institute is the authority on the attraction, qualification, and development of world-class manufacturing talent. The Institute is the place where we exceed expectations and deliver results to help close the skills gap. 

Morning Session leader:  Ted Abernathy, Managing Partner, Economic Leadership & Economic Advisor to Southern Governor's Association

National Keynote Arm Chair Discussion:  Steve Williams, Chairman and CEO of Maverick Transportation, Phil Simon, Global Education & Training Manager, John Deere, Inc., & Bill Hannah, Chairman of the Board, Nabholz Construction Services

Afternoon Panel Discussion: Joe Quinn, Senior Director of Public Affairs and Government Relations, Walmart, Inc., Chris Masingill, Federal Co-Chairman, Delta Regional Authority

Dr. Glen Fenter, President, Mid-South Community College and Dr. Jim Rollins, Superintendent, Springdale Public Schools (invited)

Closing Keynote: Dr. Willard Daggett, Founder & Chairman, International Center for Leadership in Education 


We are seeking 10 attendees from all 75 counties representing the business community, economic & community development, workforce, elected officials (local and state), education (secondary and postsecondary), education coops, PTAs.  

To register and learn more about “Jobs NOW: Arkansas Works When We Do,” please visit


Feel free to also contact Susie Marks or Andrew Parker directly at (501) 372-2222 with any questions.





State House Convention Center 101 E Markham St., Little Rock, AR, 72201, United States Get Directions


The Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce Foundation, Inc. exists to advance public knowledge and understanding of economics, finance, education and job training, housing, human relations, problems of minority groups, science and technology, economic planning and development, international relations, and other subjects related to improving efficiency, development and acceleration of economic growth and employment opportunities in Arkansas.