Executive Excellence: Governor Asa Hutchinson Expanding Work Opportunities

Gov. Asa Hutchinson grew up in a small town in rural Arkansas, where his parents taught him about the value of hard work and the dignity that comes with providing for your family—in good times and bad.

“My mom and dad worked hard. When times got tough on the farm, my dad had to get a job in a factory,” says Gov. Hutchinson, in a video released by the Foundation for Government Accountability (FGA). “[He had] to get up on Monday morning to go to the closest job he could get, which was over a hundred miles away in Tulsa, Oklahoma.”

This childhood experience inspired the governor to expand work opportunities in Arkansas to make sure all parents can provide for children without having to commute out of state. His efforts have been largely successful—since taking office, Gov. Hutchinson brought 90,000 new jobs to Arkansas.

Gov. Hutchinson knows everybody wins when students develop the skills needed to succeed in the modern workforce. Work-based training programs provide students with multiple pathways to success, and attract new companies to set up shop in Arkansas where a robust talent pool awaits them.

In recent years, the number of high school students taking computer science courses in Arkansas has grown from 1,000 students to more than 8,000 students. Nearly every high school in Arkansas has access to a career learning center. Only 11 schools don’t—a number that was whittled down from 55 when the governor first took office.

These trends are expected to bring even more jobs to the state. “It is a game-changer in the sense that the kids are going to have a skill that they would have never had before,” Gov. Hutchinson explains.

“And we’re going to be able to recruit technology companies to Arkansas that would’ve never considered this state before, but now they see that talent pool and opportunity for the students to meet the needs of their workforce.”

Thanks to Gov. Hutchinson, the next generation of hard-working Arkansans will have the tools and opportunities needed to achieve their own American Dream.